Storm Ophelia: ‘No onus to pay staff for hurricane day off’

Many employees would have been told not to come into work because of Storm Ophelia.
Many employees would have been told not to come into work because of Storm Ophelia.

Employers have no obligation to pay staff who are absent from work due to extreme weather, says employment law and human resources specialists HR Team.

Many employees across the island of Ireland have decided to heed the weather warnings over Hurricane Ophelia and stay at home today.

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However, unless it is stipulated in a staff member’s contract of employment, there is no onus on an employer to pay someone who fails to show up for work. Even if a place of work is closed for the day, there is no legal requirement to pay.

Martina McAuley, from HR Team, says: “In employment legislation there is no obligation on employers to pay employees who don’t show up for work because of extreme weather conditions.

“However, many employers do have provision in their contracts of employment for payment to be made in light of situations such as hurricane Ophelia and the flooding which hit the North West back in August.”

Ms McAuley added: “Employers should be mindful that if they are cancelling an employee’s shift they should give the employee a reasonable amount of notice. Like many aspects of employment law there are variables and employers should seek expert advice.”

Ms McAuley said it would be prudent for employers to take a long term view of the consequences of their actions.

“My advice in the case of this extreme weather event is that employers should be mindful of the impact any decisions may have on staff morale and performance in the long run.”

Employers seeking further information on any employment law, human resources and performance management matters can reach HR Team via www.hrteamservices.com