snow day

You are legally entitled to time off work when there's heavy snow

Find out your rights as the Beast from the East hits the UK

Chloe Best

The 'Beast from the East' has caused travel disruption across the UK with heavy snow prompting train cancellations and chaos on the roads. But there could be a silver lining to all this bad weather, as you may be legally entitled to time off work when there is heavy snow – although not everyone will benefit.

If your place of work is forced to close due to the wintry weather conditions, you are likely to still get paid for the extra time off. According to "If the workplace is closed because of disruption and the employee doesn't usually work from home, employers can't usually deduct pay."

Employees may be entitled to time off when there's heavy snow

However, employees aren't automatically entitled to pay if they're unable to get to work due to bad weather and their place of work is still operating as normal. The exception is if your office is open but your child's school has been closed due to snow. In this instance parents are legally entitled to take time off, as this could be seen as an emergency situation, but it will be up to your employer to decide if you get paid or not, or to organise other flexible working arrangements.

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The government's website advises: "If an employee's child's school is closed or their normal childcare arrangements are disrupted, they could have the right for time off to look after them. This should be agreed between the employee and the employer."

Parents can take time off if their children's school is closed

Meanwhile, if you can't avoid travelling during the heavy snow, it is recommended to plan your journey carefully and keep an eye on the local weather reports. A de-icer, antifreeze and a winter kit are definitely much-needed essentials for this time of the year. You should also check your tyres are suitable for winter conditions, top up your coolant with antifreeze and check your breakdown cover to ensure you won't be stuck if you do break down or have any other travel difficulties.

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