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Extreme Weather Events

The current extreme weather events have in some cases impacted on an employer’s ability to operate his/her business and to be able to provide work and an employee’s ability to make it to work. What happens in these cases?

Extreme Weather Events

If the contract of employment / terms of employment make any provision for this kind of situation then the relevant provision therein applies.

When an employee cannot attend work because of extreme weather events, is the employer obliged to pay the employee?

There is no legal entitlement for that employee to be paid where they cannot attend for work. Any more beneficial arrangement is a matter for agreement between the employer and the employee.

Can an employee take annual leave days to cover the unforeseen absence from work?

Employers may have employees take annual leave for those days, in which case they would be paid. Normally there must be a month’s notice of the employer’s intention to have employees take annual leave, however the employee may agree to a shorter time frame

Can an employee take unpaid leave to cover the unforeseen absence from work?

This arrangement is a matter for agreement between the employer and the employee. However the employee might need to check the impact on their ability to claim social welfare benefits for a period of unpaid leave.

What happens where a roster has to be changed at short notice?

Normally the employee shall be entitled to notice of at least 24 hours of a roster change. However this does not apply where the change is subject to unforeseen circumstances justifying a change in the notified times.

What happens where the employer is unable to either open the premises because of an extreme weather event or where the premises must be closed because the business cannot operate?

If the employer has put employees on a period of 'layoff' because there is no work available and where they are clear it is of a temporary nature and that the employee can expect to return to work in the future then the employer is not obliged to pay employees. However those employees who are eligible may be entitled to Social Welfare benefits.

Where the situation is uncertain and agreement cannot be reached between the employer and the employee the parties may, if they agree, engage the mediation services of the Labour Relations Commission. Employees may take a complaint to the Rights Commissioner Service under the Payment of Wages Act where there is a dispute in relation to pay.

If you wish to seek additional information on your situation you may speak with an Information Officer of the Workplace Relations Customer Service at 1890 80 80 90, Monday to Friday 9.30am to 5pm. The service is available for both employers and employees. There is also further information on this website.


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