Between employees taking extra leave around Christmas, and disruptions to roads and public transport, the office in the winter months can lead to chaos and staff shortages. It’s a very likely possibility that your company will also be hit by this, so it’s essential to have a clear set of guidelines in the winter months around leave requests and getting to work in adverse weather conditions.
Adverse weather conditions- Have a clear policy for employees when they can’t get to work, as they need to know what to expect from you.
- If employees can’t get to work due to bad weather, they aren’t automatically entitled to pay.
- Try and be flexible if you can- could altering working hours by an hour or two allow people to get to work?
- If employees are in roles where they can work from home, this is definitely an option to consider during the winter months.
Illness- the flu season will see an increase in the numbers of employees calling in sick.
- Make sure your employees understand when they have to contact the workplace when they’re sick, which should be the first day of their illness.
- You should always hold back-to-work interviews with staff members when they’ve been ill.
- You need to make employees aware that they need to complete a self-certification if they’ve been off work for less than seven days, or that they need to obtain a doctor’s not or fit note if they’ve been away from work for more than seven.
Holiday entitlements- It’s common to receive a high number of leave requests for between Christmas and the New Year.
- If public holidays over Christmas and New Year fall on Saturdays or Sundays, alternative week days become public holidays.
- There isn’t a statutory entitlement to paid leave for public holidays.
- As an employer, you have the right to set the times your employees take their leave, such as Christmas.
Other winter issues you may want to consider
Winter can contribute to your employees’ stress levels and possibly depression. Part of being a good employer or manager is being able to spot when something is troubling your employees.
Often, people won’t openly talk about issues of this nature, so if you’re concerned about an employee’s mental health or well-being, try to catch them at a quiet moment and informally ask them how they are
If your line managers don’t already receive training on the issue, train them on how to act upon signs of stress in the workplace. This way, they’ll be far better equipped to handle difficult situations and have a more acute awareness of mental health issues.