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Pay For Snow Days?


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I am currently a pre school teacher and although the nursery I work at hasn't closed in our recent snow days staff like myself who have to travel some distance haven't been able to get in. Our boss has been understnding and very sympathetic and wouldn't want us to travel if it meant risking our saftey. She has said that we will be paid for one day but that the other 2 days must be taken out of our annual holiday or made up by working extra hours. My only grievence with this is that the parents are still paying for their children even if they don't attend, so therefore my boss is still receving an income! Just wondered what other peoples views were on this subject?

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Hi, we are a voluntary preschool so perhaps slightly different situation as we're not in it to make a profit (I'm the chair of the committee).

 

Our emergency closure policy states that we will pay the first 48 hours of any closure then review the situation. I got in touch with our LEA on the 2nd day and checked that they were still paying us the nursery grant. There were, and as only 2 of our children are not funded, I felt it was only fair to pay staff.

 

I have insisted that staff try as hard as possible to use their normal work hours to do stuff at home. Luckily we had advance warning so they have been asked to do all profiles up to date, also I have emailed them stuff I want them to read, got them brainstorming ideas for planning, etc. etc.

 

I would not feel it was right not to pay them given that we are still in receipt of the grant. If your parents are still paying, which would upset me if I was a parent!, then I think you have every right to expect to be paid.

 

Hope that helps.

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Hi, we are a voluntary preschool so perhaps slightly different situation as we're not in it to make a profit (I'm the chair of the committee).

 

Our emergency closure policy states that we will pay the first 48 hours of any closure then review the situation. I got in touch with our LEA on the 2nd day and checked that they were still paying us the nursery grant. There were, and as only 2 of our children are not funded, I felt it was only fair to pay staff.

 

I have insisted that staff try as hard as possible to use their normal work hours to do stuff at home. Luckily we had advance warning so they have been asked to do all profiles up to date, also I have emailed them stuff I want them to read, got them brainstorming ideas for planning, etc. etc.

 

I would not feel it was right not to pay them given that we are still in receipt of the grant. If your parents are still paying, which would upset me if I was a parent!, then I think you have every right to expect to be paid.

 

Hope that helps.

Thanks Suzie, thats what I thought. One of the parents asked yesterday if we were being paid for the snow days last week and when we said only for one, two if we're lucky she was astonished! I am also doing some work at home, updating profiles, planning and brainstorming ideas :o etc...

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Hi Lallymac, I will be interested to see the replies you get for this thread, I too work at a playgroup and we have been open over the past week, but i had to miss 1 day last week due to snow and bothh my children's schools been closed too, then today the black ice has forced us to close i attempted to get off my estate but after falling over in the street whilst scraping my car and several phone calls from family and other staff, realised it just wasn't going to happen. But i wont get paid.. as i chose not to go in, not even 1 day's pay

 

The setting closed today.. for the first time...

 

We are situated next door to the village school, who has been closed for 4 days over the last week has the head deems its not safe.... its a very complex issue.

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yes very complex! I just think if parents are still paying then the boss is gaining if we as staff aren't being paid, plus as not many staff/children in then she is also saving on water, heating and electric! I am snowed in again today! Not worth risking your own saftey in this weather mk!

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Hi Lallymac sorry to learn that you've had such bad luck getting to work during this rotten weather. Do you know if your job was covered on the snow days by somebody else so that the ratios were maintained?

 

Many employers are saying that snow days should be taken as holidays if employees can't attend - it's a shame but I suppose it may deter people from just not trying to bother if there are problems in the future nobody wants to set a precedent.

 

this kind of thing should be explained in the terms and conditions of your employment - do you receive other benefits such as sick pay, etc. , you should check what that says - because you would have signed to accept those conditions.

 

This weather has been difficult for everyone, perhaps when your bosses see that it may amount to only 2 days work lost if the weather improves quickly you might get paid.

 

I have paid my staff, we have closed for only one day so far, I will be offering children extra sessions for those who are fee paying, or taking money off next term's bills and I am hoping that my local authority will continue to pay the funding - if they don't then i would have to reconsider in future.

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Hi

I work in a nursery (as the administrator) and live close by. Consequently I am able to get into work every day. Although I don't mind this it does become a little frustrating when others can't get in and have yet another snow day (4th day) and are getting paid for it - so am I but I don't get to stay home!!

 

I understand the point above about parents still paying, and it being difficult when you literally can't get to work - but for those of us who can and do it continues to be frustrating/unfair!

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Hi Lallymac sorry to learn that you've had such bad luck getting to work during this rotten weather. Do you know if your job was covered on the snow days by somebody else so that the ratios were maintained?

 

Many employers are saying that snow days should be taken as holidays if employees can't attend - it's a shame but I suppose it may deter people from just not trying to bother if there are problems in the future nobody wants to set a precedent.

 

this kind of thing should be explained in the terms and conditions of your employment - do you receive other benefits such as sick pay, etc. , you should check what that says - because you would have signed to accept those conditions.

 

This weather has been difficult for everyone, perhaps when your bosses see that it may amount to only 2 days work lost if the weather improves quickly you might get paid.

 

I have paid my staff, we have closed for only one day so far, I will be offering children extra sessions for those who are fee paying, or taking money off next term's bills and I am hoping that my local authority will continue to pay the funding - if they don't then i would have to reconsider in future.

 

Yeah it was a novelty to have a couple of days off to begin with and although the snow looks lovely it is becoming a bit irritating. I just keep thinking of all the things I have to do at pre school and all the nice activities I was going to do with the children the rest of this week, oh well can't be helped.

Don't get sick pay unfortunately. Ratio's were maintained as local staff were able to get in, my boss and deputy also worked and luckily the usual volumes of children didn't come in and spent the days at home playing in the snow! Hope you still manage to get your funding in the future!

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I am wrestling with this one myself - traditionally if the staff don't work for whatever reason (staff sickness/child sickness/closed for elections) they don't get paid. If I can't open then I won't be able to charge parents, although if the child is funded we will still receive the nursery education funding.

 

The problem comes when there are so few funded children that the income received doesn't cover the rent and staff salaries, and you can't charge parents of un-funded children because you have been forced to close the setting for whatever reason. Especially if the only reason the setting is closed is because your staff will not contemplate driving to work in the snow.

 

However if the setting has lots of funded children and this will cover the rent and salary bill for the session then I would pay. Unfortunately my setting doesn't fall into this category, and I've worked out how much money I lose for each session I can't open, to see if I can afford to at least pay my staff something as a gesture of goodwill.

 

For groups struggling for survival a period of closure because of bad weather might well be the last nail in the coffin - let's hope the weather turns soon and it doesn't come to that. :o

 

Maz

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If the parents are still paying, I see no reason for you not to be paid

Yes - I agree narnia. After all if the incomings and outgoings are the same as if the setting had been opened, there isn't really an argument for not paying the staff. Otherwise its what I'd call 'money for old rope', if you know what I mean! :o

 

Maz

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There was a thread about this last week and I wrote there that legal advice [from the BBC website] was that you can't have money docked from salary unless it's written into your contracts that that might happen. In our situation I have paid staff but asked them to take planning and assessment bits home to do to make up the hours - or they can choose to have it as holiday (so far staff have opted 50:50 each way). We managed to stay open but some staff lived too far away to come in safely.

 

pw

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Guest tinkerbell

I work in a school and we have been open and some TA's have not managed to get in...previously this would have been leave without pay.The Ht has phoned for advice as conditions have been bad eg very icy on footpaths and roads today and some staff live a few miles away...they will be paid but must make up the hours.

 

Tinkerbell

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Yes - I agree narnia. After all if the incomings and outgoings are the same as if the setting had been opened, there isn't really an argument for not paying the staff. Otherwise its what I'd call 'money for old rope', if you know what I mean! :o

 

Maz

 

 

However in Lallymac's case, other staff covered for the staff who could not get in, so wages have already gone out, you can't pay 2 people to do the same job!

Edited by Panders
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This is an extract from the PLA payroll newsletter sent out this week (information obtained from the Busineeslink website):

 

Generally, if the place of work is open for business, then employers do not have to pay the employees who do not attend work due to travel difficulties or bad weather.

The employer should also ask themselves whether the employee could have made it to work with some difficulty - but chose not to, or whether they were truly snowed in and unable to attend! The employer must, however, refer to their contract of employment, as there can be contractual provisions about withholding pay.

 

Aside from the legal issues about pay, there are a number of other matters to consider:

• Consider balancing your legal obligations to staff, with encouraging good work relations, morale and maintaining health and safety

• Be aware that if you made the choice to close the business due to the snow, employees will be entitled to receive full pay unless the contract contains a temporary layoff clause - allowing employees to be laid off without pay

• Be careful about forcing employees to take a day's holiday - employers cannot force employees to use their holidays without consent, unless the contract of employment specifically allows it

• Dealing with employees that phoned in sick during the snowy period will be a difficult issue. Sickness absences of staff can be dealt with by sickness absence management procedures and return to work interviews, which often deter employees taking the odd day off!

• Be considerate of the reasons staff were absent during the bad weather - those with childcare responsibilities must not be treated less favorably than their colleagues without such responsibilities, although emergency leave to care for children is generally unpaid, unless a contract states otherwise

Q. Anything else for bosses to bear in mind?

• Bear in mind there is a potential health and safety implication. If authorities are telling people to stay at home unless their journey is essential then, potentially, you may not want to put too much pressure on people to return to work.

• Employers have a duty of care to their employees and a potential liability may exist if employees were pressurised into travelling by car or foot when conditions were dangerous.

• Employers should therefore take a balanced approach between encouraging employees to make all reasonable efforts to get to work and forcing them into a situation where they feel they have no alternative but to travel to work or risk facing possible disciplinary action.

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However in Lallymac's case, other staff covered for the staff who could not get in, so wages have already gone out, you can't pay 2 people to do the same job!

Well spotted Panders!

 

So I guess this would be covered in Lallymac3's comment about being asked to make the hours up - doing a swap with the staff member who covered for you when you couldn't get in because of the snow?

 

Gets more complicated the more I think about it!

 

Maz

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Well spotted Panders!

 

So I guess this would be covered in Lallymac3's comment about being asked to make the hours up - doing a swap with the staff member who covered for you when you couldn't get in because of the snow?

 

Gets more complicated the more I think about it!

 

Maz

 

The only thing is that those staff covering weren't called in to cover they were already due to work. You're right, it is tricky and I can understand local staff feeling disgruntled about having to work whilst others are at home. I have been doing profiles, planning, prep etc at home today and my team also took work home to do. :o

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The only thing is that those staff covering weren't called in to cover they were already due to work.

I'm confused now (I think the sudden heat has gone to my brain!). Your query is then whether you should be paid on days when the setting is open but you can't get in, when no other staff member was asked to cover for you? Or whether you should be paid when the setting is closed, but you were technically available to work, and all parents are being asked to pay full fees?

 

Maz

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Think I have confused myself now too xD Setting has been open on snow days, however staff with some travelling distance struggled to make it in but local staff were still able to. Parents who did not /could not bring their children in are still obligated to pay. I am happy to make the time up though if I am not to be paid, there's always plenty of paperwork, displays etc that I never get around to tackling! :o

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all

 

I have another issue about snowy days. I had to walk my own children to school and then walk to work as the roads were dangerous. At one point police were allowing one car at a time to try to progress up the hill near to my home. The traffic queue was awful and had I even attempted to drive I would not have arrived at work until mid morning. After walking over a mile to my children's school I then walked another 3 miles to work and arrived 10 minutes after my normal start time.

 

Fewer than half our children attended on that day and all staff made it in eventually. I have been told that in spite of my efforts I am likely to lose 10 mins pay as I was late. Ironic when I would have been a lot later had I attempted to drive in unsafe conditions. My time-keeping is excellent so I do feel rather miffed to say the least. I'm the only one with young children in the setting and can't leave them at their own school before 8.45 am. Had I not had to walk dependents to school I would have left directly for work and been there on time. I wondered if anyone else had had this sort of problem or had any thoughts about this. There is nothing in our contracts about weather conditions and pay.

 

Dennie

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That's harsh, Dennie - what sort of setting are you in? I know that I'm lucky because I can make my own decisions about what to do, but I certainly wouldn't dock ten minutes wages for when staff made it in on a snow day - I'd say you deserve a bonus!

 

I can completely understand how miffed you feel, especially given all that you went through in order to get to work.

 

Sometimes systems can be very unfair, can't they?

 

Maz

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Hi Maz and thanks for your moral support

 

I'm in a setting run by a parent committee and it seems to very much to depend upon what their feelings are. As parents I can see they need staff in the setting but the situation was way beyond the norm. Few children were there when I turned up and many continued to arrive long after I had got there. The previous week when the weather was poor I had managed to get the car into work and left home really early (children's school closed so didn't have to worry about delivering them there). I was at work early before my start time to make sure I could cover for staff in difficulty but this will not be taken into account. At the end of the day we are only talking about pennies, but it is the principle of it. There seems to be much less give and take in the world these days.

 

Dennie

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