Extreme Weather Policy

Guidance on Employee Absence due to Extreme Weather Conditions
The aim of this policy is to provide a framework for managers for arrangements that may be
necessary in the event of severe weather conditions which impact on the normal day to day
running of the University and its activities. It aims to ensure a consistent approach to
treating staff fairly if they are unable to attend work due to severe weather.
The decision to close all or part of the University will be made by the Chief Operating Officer
(or, in his absence, another member of the UET) in conjunction with the Director of Estates.
The COO’s Business Support Manager will maintain a rolling five-day weather forecast from
November to April and advise on any likely adverse weather conditions.
If the University Executive Team deems it is necessary to close the University because of
severe weather conditions, an email message will be sent to all staff and a notice placed on
the Staff Intranet at the earliest opportunity. In addition, a recorded message will be made
available on the telephone number 01202 968999, normally by 7.30 am in the morning.
However, this may not always be possible as conditions may deteriorate once business has
opened as usual. In the event of University closure, for those staff who were expected to
attend work it will be treated as a normal working day and paid. If a member of staff has
booked annual leave on a day that the University is closed due to severe weather conditions,
the employee will still be deemed to have taken the annual leave and staff will not able to
claim this back.
There is a contractual obligation for staff to attend work, and as such if the University is
open for business as usual and staff are unable to attend work due to severe weather
conditions or public service cancellations, this may be considered to be a reasonable reason
for absence (taking in to consideration the distance and the routes to the workplace, the
time of day and any other relevant circumstances applicable to the member of staff), but
would generally be treated as unpaid leave. In the event that staff are unable to attend
work they must notify their line manager at the earliest opportunity. In instances of severe
weather staff should make every effort to attend work, provided of course that in doing so
this does not present any risk to safety or wellbeing.
The following alternative arrangements should be considered and agreed between staff and
their managers if applicable instead of taking unpaid leave:
Working from home (where possible and appropriate),
Taking lieu days,
Making up the hours over a period of time where the operational requirements of
the role allow for this option and where the hours to be recovered are reasonable
and can be taken within a reasonable time frame,
Taking annual leave.
Managers can be flexible about how this is applied and arrangements could include a
combination of the above.
Members of staff on part time hourly paid contracts who are unable to attend work when
scheduled due to severe weather conditions will be expected to re-arrange their work to an
acceptable alternative date. In the event of the University being closed preventing the staff
member from carrying out their normal working arrangements payment for the hours due
will be paid.
Emergency carers’ leave will apply if non-attendance is due to closure of schools or if other
childcare arrangements have broken down. (Please click here for the Family & Domestic
Emergency Policy).
If a member of staff, however, fails to attend work in circumstances where having
considered the situation carefully the manager feels that they should, and alternative
arrangements have not been agreed, then the period of absence should be discussed with
HR in the first instance.
Human Resources
December 2015