Monday 23 September 2019

Work or snow day? Everything you need to know as an employer and employee as weather deteriorates

A woman holds an umbrella during a snow flurry in Dublin, Ireland February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
A woman holds an umbrella during a snow flurry in Dublin, Ireland February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Anne-Marie Walsh

Workers have been urged not to risk their safety for their jobs – even if their pay may be docked while the ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma ravage the country.

Employees are at particular risk as they make their way to and from work, while outdoor staff like sales reps and construction workers could face danger.

Tragic Fintan Goss was killed while travelling from work when a tree fell on his car in Louth during Storm Ophelia last October.

Employers are not obliged to pay staff when they do not show up for work and there are already reports that some have threatened disciplinary action if they do not come in.

Business group Isme has advised employers whose workers’ contracts allow for a lay-off period to notify them that this could be invoked at short notice later this week.

But unions said most employers paid up despite a high level of absences during Ophelia, and urged workers to think of their safety first.

Employers are now on standby for widespread closures, as the severe weather belt approaches.

They must put plans in place for a worst-case scenario, warned Isme. This means they must decide if a Red Status warning will be the trigger to shut up shop.

“Unlike Ophelia, we now have the opportunity to prepare for this event,” said  an Isme spokesperson.

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