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Health and Safety Advice – Bad weather effects on the workplace


When freezing rain or snow storms occur at night or early morning, many employees will struggle to get to work. The average Canadian spends over 26 minutes commuting for their jobs, so your staff is bound to face this problem. Driving, busing, and even walking to work can be dangerous. How should you manage absences due to bad weather? Read on for different options to explore.

If your staff cannot show up due to bad weather

Road closures, public transit issues, and more can lead to significant delays or impossibilities for employee commutes in bad weather. Unless you agree that they can use a paid vacation day for the absence, however, you typically would not pay them. It is important to note that employers may choose either option, so long as you treat all staff equally.

If an employee wants to be paid

You can honour an employee’s bad weather absences with lieu hours, a vacation day, or short notice leave. Alternatively, you may allow staff to work from home if they have the means to be effective throughout the day. It’s your decision to make.

If the company must close in bad weather

If the office must close due to bad weather, you should pay in full the employees who could have traveled to work. Payment is fair here considering the standard is not paying staff if they cannot arrive when the office is open. To assess who is entitled to payment, contact our human resources team.

If an employee must care for dependents

Although bad weather conditions may not disrupt your company, school closures can impact staff because their children are at home. This qualifies as unpaid emergency leave, to which employees are entitled, if they need to stay with them. However, employees should not be absent in most cases for more than one or two days.