In most cases employees are not automatically entitled to pay if they are unable to get to work because of travel disruption or bad weather, unless their contract states that they will be paid when they cannot get to work owing to circumstances beyond their control and the employer provides the transport.

School closures

All employees have the right to take unpaid time off to deal with emergency situations for their children or other dependants. A school being shut at short notice is likely to be considered an emergency.

Although, legally, time off due to bad weather and school closures is unpaid, some employers might also make discretionary, informal arrangements. For example, they may let employees work from home, or agree that the time can be made up at a later date.

The employer may also ask an employee to go to another workplace that is open if the business has one.

Taking holiday

If an employer wants an employee to take the time they are absent as holiday, for which the employee will be paid, the law states that the employee must be given a warning period of "at least" double the length of annual leave they are being asked to take. So if an employer wants an employee to take 1 day holiday they must give at least 2 days’ notice. This is not possible if an employee does not know in advance that they are not able to attend work.

Working in a cold office.

The Health and Safety Executive recommends a minimum temperature of 16C for offices where the work is deskbound and fairly sedentary. If the work requires physical effort, the minimum recommended temperature is 13C.

These temperatures are not a legal requirement but an employer has a duty to provide a "reasonable" temperature in the workplace.

If low temperatures make it unsafe for workers, then ACAS says employees should be allowed to wear warmer clothing, take extra breaks to make hot drinks and also be allowed to bring in extra heating options such as portable heaters.

Employees who are vulnerable in any way, such as being pregnant, may be sent home to protect their health, and this would usually be on full pay.

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