Winter weather often brings ice and snow storms, causing disruption to businesses and hazardous conditions to workers. Businesses must consider, among other things, the implications of bad weather, including keeping employees safe, having a policy to manage inclement weather, and paying employees during work closures. This article explores these considerations at a high level.
Keeping Employees Safe During Bad Weather
Bad weather can make employees’ commutes long, dangerous, or impossible. Businesses whose employees work outdoors must be especially mindful of their working conditions.
Occupational health and safety legislation requires employers to provide a hazard-free workplace for their employees. If bad weather makes this difficult or impossible, a business may be better off closing for the duration of the bad weather or allowing employees to work from home. If working from home is not an option, employers can give employees the option to make up missed hours at another time.
Inclement Weather Policy
Employers are responsible for advising employees of business closures during bad weather. An inclement weather policy is not a legal requirement, but it can help ensure that work closures go smoothly and clarify procedures for employees.
The policy should set out the circumstances that may lead to a closure, how workers will be notified of a closure, who will make the closure decision, the method by which employees must notify management if they cannot attend work, and whether employees will be paid during closures.
Business Closures and Employee Pay
Generally, employers are not required to pay employees during business closures resulting from bad weather, provided they have given notice of closure ahead of time, before employees have arrived at work. However, if employees have already arrived at work and the employer then decides to close the business for the day, employees must be paid reporting pay in accordance with the applicable provincial legislation.
Reporting pay is the minimum amount of pay an employee must receive if they come to work and are sent home early, despite being available to work longer. Note that, in some provinces, employers are exempt from reporting pay if bad weather, a power failure, a fire, or a storm results in a complete stoppage of work.
Do you need help managing business closures during bad winter weather?
If you have questions about how employees can use leaves of absence or vacation days during inclement weather, ask our HR experts for advice. We help employers manage and protect their staff with compliant and sound HR and Health and Safety practices. Call us today: 1(833)247-3652.