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Storm Eunice: How to keep employees safe

Weather warnings have been issued across the UK as the country braces itself for the onslaught of Storm Eunice.

With severe damage, power cuts and travel disruption expected today and at the weekend, workplace expert Acas has issued new advice to help employers protect their workers.

The top tips are:

  • If the weather or travel is expected to improve, allow a later start time;
  • Offer workers the opportunity to swap shifts or work overtime to make up missed hours;
  • Allow flexible working.

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There is no legal right to be paid for missing work due to travel disruption or bad weather.

Acas therefore advised employers to consider drafting a bad weather and travel disruption policy to determine what happens to pay if a worker is unable to get in to work; how the situation will be communicated, and what alternative work arrangements can be made.

Commenting on the news of Storm Eunice, Susan Clews, CEO of Acas, highlighted the severity of the situation.

She said: “Train services have already been cancelled or suspended in some parts of the country that could be impacted by winds of up to 90 mph.

“Workers may be concerned about travelling into work over the next few days and some employers will have concerns about staff absences impacting their productivity and performance.”

If employees have to take care of a dependent over the next few days, for example if a child’s school is closed, they have a right to take unpaid leave.

If the workplace is closed due to the storm, normal pay should still apply.

The Met Office has issued a red weather warning, in which uprooted trees, dangerous flying debris, large waves, power cuts and damage to homes can be expected, across parts of the south of England, south Wales, Cornwall and Devon.

An amber weather warning is in place across the rest of Wales and England up to Manchester.

Parts of West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, the Northeast, Scotland and Northern Ireland have been issued a yellow weather warning.

These are expected to remain until the end of the day 18 February.

From 19 February, a yellow weather warning will stay in place for the southern coast of England and Wales.