Non-attendance at work due to severe weather conditions?


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Do employees have a statutory right to be paid for non-attendance at work due to severe weather conditions?

Employees in Ireland enjoy a comprehensive suite of employment rights. It is important that there is a balance between a floor of rights for employees without putting an overly onerous burden on employers.

Payment of wages in situations where an employee is unable to attend work due to severe weather conditions is mainly a contractual matter between employers and employees. Employers are encouraged to take a long-term view of the working relationship, recognising that demonstrating concern for the welfare of employees translates into a better working environment for both the staff and the employer.

However, in certain circumstances, for example where an employer did not open their premises without the usual notice of closure, employees may be able to establish a right to be paid. An employee who was unable to attend work yesterday (16th October 2017), despite making reasonable efforts to do so, and is not paid for that day could pursue a case under the Payment of Wages Act to the Workplace Relations Commission. Every case is fact-specific. Whether an Adjudication Officer would find in favour of the employee or employer would depend on the circumstances of the case, whether the business was open yesterday and the absence management policy of the employer. In addition, consideration would be given to other relevant factors such as the availability of public transport.

What is the position of parents who have to take time of work to mind children given school closures?   This is primarily a matter of contract between employers and employees and many employers will have absence management policies in place to deal with such circumstances. These policies may provide, for example, for parents to work from home or for the employee to be paid for the time in question on condition that they work the time back up at a future date. Again, employers are encouraged to foster positive working relations.

Information on employment rights for both employers and employees is available on the Workplace Relations Commission’s website: www.workplacerelations.ie or by telephone on 1890 80 80 90 or 059 9178990.

Last modified:17/10/2017