What are your legal rights if you're snowed in or can't go to work because the school is shut and there's no one to look after the kids? With heavy snow forecast, working parents will be anxiously waiting for news about school closures.
Snow: Hour by hour forecast for Leeds as heavy snow forecast on Tuesday Employment expert, Tony Hyams-Parish, Partner at law firm DMH Stallard, clarifies what rights mums and dads have when the school stays shut and the kids have nowhere to go.
Parents can probably take time off for snow days - but there is no legal right to be paid. However, it's not always that simple, and many employers will be flexible. As Mr Hyams-Parish said: "Section 57A(e) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 allows employees to take a reasonable period of time off to deal with an unexpected incident which involves the employee's child while they are at school (or another educational establishment).
School closure due to weather is likely to fall under these rules. "As soon as reasonably practicable, the employee must tell the employer of the need to leave work and the reason for this. This should include sufficient information to enable the employer to determine whether the statutory right applies.
"They must also tell the employer how long they expect to be away from work (unless it is not reasonably practicable). The right is to take a "reasonable" amount of time off to take action which is "necessary", and this will always depend on the circumstances. "Importantly, there is no right to be paid during this time.
"Although that’s the strict legal position, many employers will be more flexible. They can allow employers to work from home, make time up later or where a longer period is necessary, allow holiday to be taken. Some will allow the time off without any consequence such as deduction of pay."