If you live in an area where adverse weather has the potential to impact employee attendance, it pays to give the subject some serious consideration.
Does my company “need” an adverse weather policy?
No. There is no statutory requirement for such policies. It’s up to each individual employer to come up with their own adverse weather policy, if they so choose. There are not any labor laws that require employers to have such a policy in place. It’s a fact that the weather can have an impact on operations, so it makes sense to consider the subject. How the issue treated actually sends a loud and clear message to employees. i.e. “We care more about your safety than the dollar”, or “We want production, personal safety outside the workplace is not our concern.” What kind of message is your company sending?
Do I have the right to make my employees come to work during adverse weather conditions?
Yes. Since an adverse weather policy is not required, an employer can simply inform employees that they will be expected to be at work as long as the business is open regardless of weather conditions.
How an employer treats their employees when inclement weather strikes falls under the concept of employment at will. This means that unless the treatment an employee receives conflicts with a specific law and/or employment contract protecting them, an employer may treat their employees as they see fit. An employer can hire and discharge employees at will for any reason or no reason at all.
We encourage companies to take a look at the issue, and handle it in a way that best supports their business objectives. Often times, letting employees know you care, and keeping morale high is a key component. This doesn’t mean taking a soft approach touch on every issue, but if decisions are made considering the impact to the worker, as well as the business, things typically run smoother.
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