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East Midlands Chamber News

Chamber comment on snow disruption

Commenting on the disruption to business caused by the snow, Lucy Robinson, the Chamber's Director of Resources, said: “There is not much that businesses can do to mitigate the impact of severe weather, such as snow or floods. Snow happens every year but every year we get caught out by it.

“Many people will brave the elements and try to get to work but if rail services are cancelled and roads become impassable there is little they can do. Employers have to have realistic expectations in such cases.

“The important thing is for employers to know which staff are likely to get to work and to plan working days and productivity using the staff and skills available. But they must remember they have a duty of care to ensure staff who get to work will also be able to get home again. Where possible they should consider allowing staff to work from other offices or from home, using the available smart technology and remote access to computers that is readily available, and to leave early if conditions worsen.

“From an employer’s perspective, the cost of absence by staff who don’t clock in and out can be mitigated by having an agreement that staff take ‘snow days’ as part of their holiday entitlement. This should be included as a ‘bad weather’ policy in the employee’s hand book or as part of their contract of employment.

“It has been estimated that the cost to the UK economy of disruption caused by snow is something in the region of £900m a day. The East Midlands contributes about six per cent to the UK economy (GVA) which, by the most simple of calculations, would suggest the cost to the regional economy of disruption caused by snow could be about £54m a day, but it’s almost impossible to put a definitive figure on it.”

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