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Brits are facing warnings of snow and ice in parts of England, prompting questions about employment rights during extreme weather conditions. The Met Office has issued yellow warnings for several regions, including Greater London and Kent. Employment lawyer Simon Robinson emphasizes that employers have a duty of care for their employees’ well-being, including the health and safety of the workplace.

While there isn’t a specific minimum temperature deemed unsafe to work in, employers are advised to conduct risk assessments and consider factors like duration of outdoor work, access to breaks and facilities, and appropriate personal protective equipment. If safety measures can’t be ensured, employees should not be required to work in those conditions.

Regarding pay when employees can’t get to work due to snow, in most cases, employers aren’t obligated to pay if an employee can’t make it to the workplace. Some employers may allow employees to request time off as annual leave or work from home. However, employees shouldn’t be forced or pressured to travel if safety is a concern.

If the office closes due to snow or bad weather, bosses should still pay contracted employees. For those on zero-hours contracts or with contractual rights for the employer to decline work with short notice, payment may not be required. If there’s an advance notice of bad weather, employers could inform employees in advance to take holidays.

Parents facing school closures due to weather-related disruptions are entitled to take reasonable emergency unpaid time off work to make alternative childcare arrangements. This time off is not to care for the child but to arrange for their care. Employers may offer flexibility, allowing employees to take holiday at short notice or work from home when appropriate.

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