Snowy days create staffing uncertainty

By: Judy Kneiszel

Publication: Employee Relations Management Today

Date Posted: 01/14/2020

Have an inclement weather policy

Careful Connie calls in every time there is a dusting of snow or slight threat of slippery roads. Although the company is not closing, and other employees are able to get to work, she insists that she can’t make it in because of the weather.

These unexpected winter absences are creating a staffing headache for Connie’s supervisor.

In general, an employer should have an inclement weather policy in place with the goal of keeping everyone safe. An inclement weather policy should address:

  • How far in advance the company will notify employees of a closing.
  • How employees will be notified, such as whether they are to call a hotline or receive a text.
  • If and how workers will be compensated during the closing.
  • Whether employees may use PTO during a closing, or if the business does not close but the employee feels unable to come in.
  • The steps an employee must take to inform an employer of delays or the inability to come into work, or the need to leave early.

If Connie follows those steps and calls to say she doesn’t feel comfortable driving to work, her supervisor should tell her to use her best judgement in determining her own safety and then:

Ask Connie if she has any pressing deadlines for the day, and if so, ask if there is someone else who is up to speed on the assignment or project who can take her place. This may involve doing some cross-training of team members.

If Connie says there is no backup, the supervisor should determine if deadlines can be delayed or rescheduled.

While some jobs need to be performed on company premises, many job duties can be performed remotely. Perhaps the best long-term solution is to get Connie set up for telecommuting on rough weather days.

About the author
Judy Kneiszel - Human Resources Editor

Judy is an Associate Editor on the Human Resources Publishing Team and she specializes in issues such as recruiting and hiring, onboarding and training, employee communication and discipline, managing problems, team building, inclusion, employee retention, and labor relations

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