The recent weather throughout many areas of the UK has resulted in widespread flooding and damage to personal property. As a result, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has urged employers to be sympathetic to any workers who have been affected by flooding.

Many people are facing the problems that come from their homes being flooded, meaning there may well be higher levels of staff absence throughout the next few weeks. Others are having to face the prospect of flooding and are taking to steps in an attempt to avoid the issue. 

Employers are being asked to respect those that have been affected and to employ absence management techniques to provide the needed support to any employees that have been affected. 

Companies should ensure they are providing any employees who have been the victim of flooding the needed time off to enable them to get their affairs in order. The TUC has reminded businesses that the situation many workers are finding themselves in is highly distressing and will result in a number of problems before arriving at a solution, meaning they require time.

The TUC has also stated that any companies whose premises are located within flooded areas ensure their workplaces are safe and secure before allowing employees to return to work. No one should be allowed to work unless it is safe to do so, advises the congress, so as to avoid injury or health concerns.

Staff should also be provided with facilities that allow them to shower or wash, especially if they have been affected by the floods or have to travel through flooded areas in order to reach work. However, if it is deemed too dangerous to travel through flooded areas, flexible working should be offered as an option so as to avoid any potential injuries.

Hugh Robertson, TUC senior health and safety officer, said: “In these difficult circumstances work is likely to be the last thing on people’s minds, but employers whose workplaces have escaped the floodwater or which are in unaffected areas should be sympathetic to the problems being experienced by their employees and allow them time away from work.

“And when the water finally starts to recede, although employers and their staff will be keen for a return to normal as soon as possible, it’s important not to risk avoidable injuries and accidents by doing things in a rush. Employers need to check that their workplaces are safe before asking their staff to come back to work.”

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