Guest Article by Joseph L. Bolger, Managing Director at ESA Consultants
If there’s one thing Mother Nature hasn’t been recently, it’s consistent and lenient. Last year, the UK and Ireland were hit by Storm Ophelia. Just recently, both countries have experienced the unlikelihood of a blizzard, leaving people snowed in, forced to close their businesses. This left many with questions like, who pays whom? What if we open and staff did not show up? What if we open and have to send people home? What if we don’t open, do we have to pay staff?
On the North American continent, New York was hit by a massive snowstorm early January, and another Red Weather Warning was issued in March as they prepared for another “bomb cyclone” forecast. Given the recent adverse conditions, we received over 1200 calls regarding the rights, obligations and liabilities of both employers and employees. Therefore, we have put an extreme weather salon policy up for review and are sharing it with you here. Please note that it is not a final copy, but a working copy. You may want to have it amended to suit your salon or spa, or you can modify it yourself.
Extreme Weather Conditions Policy For Salons & Spa
* This policy must be read in conjunction with our Health, Safety and Welfare recommendations (download here). Please feel free to amend the following to suit your salon or spa, or have it altered by an employment law consultant.
We strongly recommend you add your final version of the following extreme weather salon policy to your SOP Manual.
Purpose Of The Extreme Weather Salon Policy
The policy is designed to deliver clear procedures by the company to its staff, suppliers and associates whenever a Red Weather Warning is issued by any local or national government. The procedures will address the salon or spa’s policy regarding, attendance and travelling during a Red Weather Warning.
Red Weather Warnings are defined as heavy snow or ice accumulations, flooding, hurricane or tornado damage that can seriously impact our employee and effects the normal operations of *Insert Your Salon Name*.
Weather or emergency conditions that force local school systems and some local transport services to shut down, but factories and offices remain open, and services continue.
Most adverse weather warnings are issued in advance, and adequate time is provided for all employees to take preventative and corrective measure. It is of your salon or spa’s responsibility to keep yourself up to date with local and national weather forecasters and as the salon owner, to advise all of your staff by email, text or phone as to your plans regarding what action and procedures must be taken.
Sudden Weather Changes
From time to time conditions can be upgraded with short notice, going from Yellow to Amber or Red. In these circumstances, the salon or spa must take adequate notice of the weather conditions and appropriate decisions for each location.
Adverse Weather Warning Codes:
- Yellow: Be aware. Severely bad weather is possible over the coming days.
- Amber: Be prepared. There is an increased likelihood of severely or extremely bad weather.
- Red: Take action. Extremely bad weather is expected.
*Insert Your Salon Name* will advise staff regarding the level of risk the weather poses. The risk levels will be in line with the safety risk assessments for all dangers but will incorporate the National weather warning codes.
5 – Almost certain to occur
4 – Very likely to occur
3 – Likely to occur
2 – Not likely to occur
1 – Improbable
5 – Very High (Fatality or permanent disability)
4 – High (Lost time injury or illness)
3 – Moderate (Medical treatment)
2– Slight (First aid treatment)
1– Negligible (Incident Report only)
Score 0f 15-25
Score of 4-12
Score of 1-4
Reporting to Work
*Insert Your Salon Name* will access the risk with the (Safety Committee/Staff Representative/Management Team) of our decision regarding the level of risk posed.
If staff members are required to report to work in Red Alert Weather or emergency situation,*Insert Your Salon Name* will decide on the course of action regarding who should attend work. Only positions classified as essential are required to report to work or remain at work. If a staff member’s job is not designated as critical, then he/she should not report to work or stay at work while the Red Alert Extreme Weather salon policy is in effect, regardless of his/her ability to report to work.
Once a decision is reached by *Insert Your Salon Name*, communications will be issued, by the relevant appointed person or body as to the actions all staff must follow.
The Type Of Actions:
- Attend work
- Stay at work
- Leave early
- Don’t attend work
- Do not travel or plan to travel form (X date and time) to (Y date and time)
- Work from home
No manager, supervisor, council, body or team may override *Insert Your Salon Name* instructions regardless as to the studious of the weather warning.
Staff Member Responsibility
Each staff member is reasonable for their own safety and that of other employees they work with, and to ensure they do not cause by their action or conduct, damage or injury.
All staff must engage fully with instructions provided by their manager(s). Where an employee is in procession of information that is at variance with the instructions of the company, and they are of the opinion that the instruction of the company is unsafe or contrary to local and national advisory, they are within their right to raise their concerns through the appointed safety committee, works council or line manager.
No employee will be subjected to any form of penalisation or unfair treatment for raising concerns. Employees shall not decide to take any action including refusing to attend work, refusing to perform their duties while at work, leave without permission, refuse to follow instructions that serve to secure their safety, that of colleagues or company property.
- Each staff member shall be responsible for supporting any new employee and ensuring they are included in all processes regarding the company policy.
- Each employee, regardless of their service in *Insert Your Salon Name*, will be treated equally and afforded the same conditions as long servicing staff regarding notice, closure and remuneration benefits.
- All staff must review the extreme weather salon policy.
- Staff members must clarify responsibilities and expectations with his/her supervisor.
Imminent Severe Weather
Each staff member should review the policy and staffing contingency plan with his/her manager if severe weather is expected.
Once the extreme weather salon policy is activated, follow directions on severe weather/emergency conditions information procedures.
- Attend work: In adverse conditions, *Insert Your Salon Name* will only issue such a request if it is a critical matter capable of damage to the property that could result in loss of jobs or environment damage. However, where such a risk is posed, it may still prove dangerous for an employee to be in attendance. *Insert Your Salon Name* will, in association with the employees affected, review the situation and the risk before allowing any employees enter the property.
- Stay at home: Will require all staff not to attend the premises. In such circumstances, and in coordination with local and national advisory information, *Insert Your Salon Name* will consider the duration of the embargo.
FAO Of The Employer, Regarding Pay. The Following Options Are Available:
Part of a day and subject to production or productivity levels achieved, with pay.
Full day, subject to production or productivity levels achieved, with pay.
Full day, no production or productivity levels archived, any outstanding holidays can be offset against the period. However, such holidays must be requested by the employee.
Subject to evidence, the Employee may take some time as ‘force majeure’ leave, which is up to 3 days in any one year of 5 days in any 3 years.
An agreement from the employee to work back the lost time over an agreed period.
The employee takes it as an unpaid day off.
Periods of more than one day but less than 3 days, the company will apply the same rules as set out in 1 to 5, or issue the employees with a temporary layoff notice.
Where there is a company bonus, the company will (by agreement only), with the employee, agree to offset the payment for the period of the off the situation against the future bonus.
Nothing in this agreement, will prevent the company reimbursing the affected employees whereof the sales, production or productivity lost during the adverse periods is recovered over the reaming period of the season.
All hours not worked will be measured against actual hours worked taking into consideration, overtime, shift allowances, Sunday premiums, etc.
Complete Destruction Of The Salon/Spa
Should the company suffer total destruction of its operation as a result of adverse weather conditions, the company will issue layoff notices to staff. Where staff are currently on notice, the company will maintain the effect of the notice while it seeks to establish if it can rebuild.
Conduct Or Behaviour
Employees are required to obey all companies policies and procedures, when under a Red Weather Warning. If he or she acts recklessly or without reasonable cause or excuse and engages in any activity that directly or indirectly, presents a danger to his or her own life or the life of any other person, or interferes with the ability of any extreme weather salon policy or procedure of the company, or fails/refuses to obey reasonable instructions including failure or refusal to perform their functions, the matter may be deemed a serious offence capable of disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
Returning To Work
The Company will set the duration of the closure or part closure. Upon expiry of the period, the employee will be required to resume their duties automatically. Where the employee’s work is by way of shift or roster, they must return to work in line with the normal patterns of previous shifts or rosters.
- If you work 7: 30 am to 3:30 pm each day, you will be expected to return to work on the next shift starting at 7:30 am.
- If your work a roster Monday to Thursday and the closure included one or all of those days, your next roster will be the following Monday.
There may be circumstances where it is necessary to extend the closure. In such case, you will be provided with adequate notice were possible.
Deciding What Positions Are Designated As Essential
Managers and supervisors will coordinate with their staff to ensure appropriate staffing during severe weather or emergency conditions.
Childcare (Essential Staff Only)
Because instances of severe weather or emergency conditions may dictate the need for alternate childcare, essential staff should plan in advance to address childcare needs.
Where parking facilities are provided, all should ensure they park their cars correctly. Lose items must be secured or removed.
Road/Path Clearing Priority
Leading up to during and post any severe weather, roads and paths under *Insert Your Salon Name*’s control will be cleared as quickly as possible to provide access to buildings and facilities.
Busing & Transportation
Staff who use public transport may have to find alternative methods of coming to work prior and post shut down.*Insert Your Salon Name* recommends were possible arranging a buddying system, or cooperation with other staff to share taxis. If staff do share taxis or organize a buddying system with other staff members, *Insert Your Salon Name* will contribute to the additional costs.
While advisory services do us all proud and perhaps save lives most of which we will never know of, we soon forget about it all and move on. However, there is no doubt that we can expect more of these events in the future. The concept we are looking at is as follows: good working relations are vital, and while we might get upset having to pay wages or closing our businesses, most businesses can survive the events with planning and arrangements for recovery. We must remember that leaving staff without income is a short-term view that will only build up resentment and reaction in the long-term. While it must be accepted that not all employers can pay wages in such circumstances, there must be a resolution if we want good working relationships!
Thanks for reading! #LetsGrow
Joseph L. Bolger is Managing Director at ESA Consultants. If you have any questions you can visit www.esa.ie/ or contact Joe directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like ESA Consultants to work with you on adapting this policy to your salon or spa. Don’t forget you can always drop us your suggestion as to what we should write about next!