This extract is from the Chamber of Commerce, it will help answer your question on whether or not to pay your employee if they were unable to come to work on Monday due to the snow.
Paying staff during snow disruption
Many businesses will be experiencing disruption to their normal staffing levels due to the recent snow. We have received many calls from employers asking for guidance which we have summarised below. In these tough conditions, both employers and employees need to use their common sense, be flexible and work within the current constraints we all face. Safety of all team members should be first and foremost.
The rules regarding whether to pay staff who can’t or won’t work because of disruption due to snow are the same as applied in the aftermath of the earthquake. Basically, the position is as follows:
- If the employee is ready and willing to work but the employer is unable to provide work, the employee must be paid, unless the employment agreement expressly provides that the employer need not do so under such circumstances. Such a provision would be unusual, although the latest version of the Employment Agreement issued by the Employer’s Chamber does envisage situations where payment can be suspended due to unforeseen circumstances. See our Members Area at www.cecc.org.nz for a sample employment agreement with such a clause.
- If the employer has work available, but the employee does not show up for work, citing snow or ice as the reason, we suggest you explore ways of enabling the employee to contribute in some other way. Many employees can now work remotely, for example. If that is not possible, and the employee says he or she cannot make it into work, it is recommended that you explore ways with the employee of continuing to pay wages, such as treating the absence as paid annual leave.
- If you suspect the employee of being dishonest, then you must institute a formal disciplinary investigation before taking any action, such as a warning or dismissal. Don’t just assume that the employee is being dishonest or not trying hard enough just because someone else has made it in from the same area. Everyone has their own individual challenges.
- Where possible, if staff can work remotely from home avoiding the icy roads early in the morning, this would be a good suggestion versus putting pressure on employees to drive in unsafe conditions.