As the days grow shorter and the weather colder, the risk of disruption caused by severe weather or outbreaks of flu increases. Businesses are advised to make preparations now which will help to minimize the disruption to business during winter emergencies.
The Department has prepared a short checklist for businesses to help them prepare for severe weather events. One of the implications an employer may have to consider during a severe weather event is whether they will need to close their business.
It will not be possible for the Department to issue blanket advice about whether a business should close in the event of a Status Red Warning from Met Éireann, because many organisations are engaged in the delivery of essential services.
Businesses should however prioritise the safety of their workers at all times in the decision-making process and should consider how they will communicate with their staff about any possible closures, be that by email, text, phone or social media.
Payment of Wages
The Workplace Relations Commission, which is an office of this Department, offers advice to both employers and employees on dealing with a situation whereby an employee cannot attend work due to unforeseen circumstances. It is however important that both parties are aware that, in general, there is no statutory entitlement for an employee to be paid where they cannot attend for work because of extreme weather.
Any more beneficial arrangement is a matter for agreement between the employer and the employee. In this regard, employers are encouraged to take a long-term view of the working relationship.
The following links may be useful during severe weather:
- Be Winter Ready: Information to help make you, your home and your business more resilient and prepared for severe weather. The website also provides useful information on Met Éireann's weather warnings and colour coding.
- Office of Emergency Planning: This website provides updates from the Government’s National Emergency Co-ordination Group. For further information Tel 01 237 3800 or LoCall 1890 252736. Twitter: @emergencyIE
- Irish Water: Irish Water has tips on its website to prevent frozen pipes and unexpected leaks which may affect the water supply to your business. Alternatively, visit their Twitter customer care @IWCare or in an emergency call them on 1850 278 278.
- ESB: For information on any power outage updates, please go to current power outages.
- Workplace Relations Commission: The Workplace Relations Commission provides advice on absence during extreme weather events. If you wish to seek additional information on your workplace situation you may speak with an Information Officer of the Workplace Relations Commission at 1890 80 80 90 or 059 917 8990, Monday to Friday 9:30am to 5pm. The service is available for both employers and employees.
- Health and Safety Authority: Please contact the Health and Safety Authority if you wish to report any work-related safety risks on: 1890 289 389 between 9:00am to 12:30pm, Monday to Friday.
- Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection: The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection provides information around social welfare benefits.