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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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Plan in advance to cope with winter weather, warns ACAS

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With the weather expected to turn increasingly wintry over the weekend, HR departments must prepare themselves by ensuring that suitable staff policies in place, ACAS has advised.

According to the mediation service, advance planning is key to ensuring that everyone and everything keeps working smoothly when circumstances turn unpredictable.
 
Adrian Wakeling, the organisation’s guidance editor, said: “Winter often brings dilemmas for employers – adverse weather conditions can mean staff shortages due to travel disruption”, for instance.
 
But planning in advance and devising and communicating clear policies around issues such as how to get to work could ensure that employers didn’t catch a cold, he added. As a result, he offered up a number of top tips:
 
Adverse weather
 
To avoid staff absence due to bad weather such as heavy snowfall, HR should:
 
  • Clarify to employees that they are not automatically entitled to pay if they are unable to get into work because of adverse conditions
  • Devise a clear policy so that staff know what you expect from them in terms of getting to work
  • Be flexible where possible, for example, by temporarily agreeing changes to working hours with employees in order to minimise disruption
  • Use IT to keep the business running if possible, for instance, by enabling staff to work from home
  • Plan ahead to avoid conflict as a result of misunderstandings.
 
Colds and flu
 
Winter germs can lead to an increase in workers calling in sick. This means that HR should:
 
  • Ensure staff know that they have to contact work on the first day they are off sick and that work interviews will be held routinely when they return
  • Have workers fill in a self-certification form explaining the reason why they were off for less than seven days or make sure they get a Statement of Fitness for Work or ‘fit note’ from their GP if off work for longer.
Author Profile Picture
Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett
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