Attendance at work during abnormal weather conditions

There may, from time to time, be severe weather or other situations where there is significant disruption to essential public services. This may affect the ability of staff to attend work as usual. In these circumstances, PVC Deans and Directors should try to ensure that their staff are safe both at work and in their journeys to and from work, whilst seeking to maintain essential services.

1. In exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to close a campus or service and/or send staff home early, and/or to advise staff not to attend on safety grounds. In such circumstances, all staff (whether or not on flexible working hours) will be paid as usual.

2. Whenever campuses remain open during periods of severe weather, staff are expected to make every reasonable effort to attend for work as normal (subject to individuals making a common sense assessment of the conditions/risks and transport in their area, and adhering to any public advice).

3. Some journeys to and from work might take longer than normal. Early morning disruption may not last the whole day. Staff who are only able to attend work for part of the working day or to have a later start and/or an agreed earlier finish will be paid at their normal rate of pay for the whole day.

4. The line manager should be sensitive to the individual circumstances of the member of staff. In particular, where a member of staff has mobility problems or another health condition(s), which might be made worse by adverse weather or difficulties with transport, special care should be taken in applying this guidance.

5. Where possible, and subject to the individual’s personal circumstances and job role, staff who are unable to attend campus are expected to make all reasonable efforts to work from home, for example by making use of secure technology to support remote working (e.g. email, Google Meet, Zoom etc.). This will be especially important at certain times of the year, or to maintain essential services e.g. examinations, payroll deadline etc. When severe weather is forecast, staff should plan ahead to be able to work from home, or re-arrange meetings and classes.

6. Departments which offer key services, such as Libraries, IT support, Facilities, or Halls of Residence, have more detailed contingency arrangements in place to maintain essential services during severe weather or other disruption. This guidance should be read in conjunction with those arrangements.

7. If members of staff are unable to travel to their place of work owing to severe weather conditions, they must inform their line manager prior to their normal start time, or as soon as possible thereafter.

8. Following discussion between individual staff and their line manager, and subject to operational needs and consideration of the individual’s domestic situation, staff may:

  1. Work at home (or perform their duties at another location); or
  2. Make up the time/hours lost (normally within one month); or
  3. Take a day’s annual leave or TOIL (if applicable to the role); or
  4. Have a day’s authorised leave without pay; or
  5. Be granted special paid leave (see section 9 below).

(N.B where severe weather is prolonged staff may wish to request a combination of a-d above so that, for example, some time is made up and some taken as annual leave.)

9. Managers who wish to exercise discretion to allow non-attendance to be taken as special paid leave, must seek authorisation from their PVC Dean or Director (for staff in the Directorates), setting out the reasons why this should be justified. The PVC Dean or Director will determine the request, taking account of any University-wide guidance relating to the particular weather incident concerned that has been issued by, or on behalf of, the Vice-Chancellor’s Group.

10. In certain situations, for example, where schools close at short notice owing to severe weather and staff are unexpectedly required to provide/arrange care for their dependants, the policy for dealing with domestic emergencies will apply. Where a school closure is known in advance, i.e. the day before, or the closure period continues, staff are expected to agree to one or a combination of options in section 8 above with their line manager.

11. During periods of severe weather or other widespread disruption, staff will be informed of developments via all staff emails and social media channels. Regular updates will be posted on the University website. In addition, Faculties and Directorates will cascade information as set out in their business continuity plans.

December 2022

Next review: November 2025