NERA advice on employees affected by bad weather

Disruption of normal employment arrangements due to weather

 If an employee cannot come to work  due to adverse weather conditions, is the employer obliged to pay the employee?

If an employee is unable to present for work due to weather disruption there is no legal entitlement for that employee to be paid.  Any alternative arrangement is a matter for agreement between the employer and the employee.

 Can an employee take annual leave days to cover the unforeseen absence from work?

Employers may permit employees to take annual leave for those days, in which case they would be paid.  Normally an employer must give one month’s notice to employees where s/he wants an employee to take annual leave, however the employee may agree to a shorter time frame (e.g. to facilitate the taking of annual leave while stranded due to weather).

 Can an employee take unpaid leave to cover the unforeseen absence from work?

This arrangement is a matter for agreement between the employer and the employee.  However the employee might need to check the impact on their ability to claim social welfare benefits for a period of unpaid leave.

 What happens where a roster has to be changed at short notice?

Normally the employee shall be entitled to notice of at least 24 hours of a roster change.  However this does not apply where the change is subject to unforeseen circumstances justifying a change in the notified times. 

 What happens where the employer is unable either to open the premises because of weather conditions or where there is no work?

 If the employer has put employees on a period of ‘layoff’ because there is no work available and where the employer is clear that the layoff is of a temporary nature and that the employee can expect to return to work in the future, the employer is not obliged to pay employees.  However those employees who are eligible may be entitled to Social Welfare benefits.

 Complaints in relation to non Payment of Wages may be taken to the Rights Commissioners in the normal way.

 NERA Information Services

1 December 2010

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