Having spent Boxing Day terrified that my house might flood, and then having witnessed the devastation which forced numerous local businesses (many of which were small independents) to shut down or temporarily close, I started thinking how employers could possibly prepare for such events.
With experts indicating that flooding could become a more regular occurrence in the future, businesses need to do more than just build flood defences…
We would recommend a focus on the following three measures as a starting point:
1. Temporary Lay-Offs
Update your template Contract of Employment to include a temporary lay-off clause and consult with all current staff to add this to their terms and conditions of employment.
A temporary lay-off clause will allow you to ask your staff to stay at home or take unpaid leave if a particular circumstance arises which leads to a temporary and significant reduction of workload. It goes without saying that the flooding of business premises could prevent employees from being able to carry out their role and as such we recommend that you protect your business from having to continue to pay staff wages when nothing can possibly be delivered.
Do bear in mind that although there is no limit for how long an employee can be laid off for, they could apply for redundancy or claim redundancy pay if the lay-off has lasted for four weeks in a row or six weeks within a thirteen-week period. You should also be aware that by laying an employee off without pay, they might be entitled to receive a statutory guarantee payment from you. This is limited to a maximum of five days in any period of three months and the daily amount is currently limited at £26 per day (although like all statutory payments, this is reviewed regularly).
Employees can only be laid off without pay where there is a specific term in their contract which allows for this and so it is essential to get this part right, otherwise you could be making an illegal deduction from wages – scary stuff! HR180 can help you draft an appropriate Temporary Lay-Off clause which works your business and we can also assist in the preparation and delivery of the consultation process to change your employees T&Cs.
2. Adverse Weather Policy
As an employer, you have a duty of care towards your employees to mitigate their own personal risk whilst at work and this extends to their journey to and from work.
Recognise that the impact of flooding can also affect employees from being able to get to work. An Adverse Weather Policy will outline expectations in terms of poor weather conditions and guidelines in regard to leave and pay.
Again, HR180 can assist in the creation of this policy. Give us a call on 0113 287 8150!
3. Get on the Cloud!
Not only is this a good idea simply to bring your business into the twenty-first century, but cloud based systems are a great investment in terms of disaster recovery. By electronically filing everything, there is no longer a need to keep realms and realms of paper based documents and risk losing super important files in the event of a flood (or fire, or earthquake, or alien invasion, or any other natural/super-natural disaster!!)
As well as this, cloud based systems can enable your staff to work from home – very important if you have to close the premises and want to avoid temporary lay-offs!
Understandably these systems are an investment and naturally that equals cost, but as well as protecting your business from flooding, you will be setting your business up for the future.
An HR Management system can provide you with peace of mind, cost less than you think and be a real value-add to your business. Don’t hesitate to call us for more info!!
Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.