“It looks pretty bad out.” We’ve all heard a co-worker say it. It’s a typical day in the office when suddenly, the clouds change, the thunder booms, and the roads are BAD. Do you know if your company has an Inclement Weather Policy? What are the rules on leaving the office when the weather gets bad OR before it does? What is the policy when the weather is bad before you head to work? Knowing your companies policy is essential and can help get you out of possibly a lousy situation.
If you already know your companies weather policy, it’s good to understand your personal boundaries when it comes to safety. Although the company may deem it “safe” to go to work, in the end, it is your safety, and that is what is most important.
According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Admin) guidelines, your employer is supposed to ensure that their employees are safe. Each safety situation has its own set of rules, and it depends on how the “danger” affects different positions.
Sometimes staying safe can means shutting down the businesses. If the company does shut down because of weather or another reason or you chose not to come in, you could not get paid. A salaried employee will most likely have to use a sick/vacation day but still get paid, while hourly workers will not get paid. This is legal, and there is little anyone can do to change that.
Before Covid-19, it was unlikely that you had all the tools to work from home, but now, many people can access things they need to continue working at home, making the weather not as much of an issue. For those that can work at home, this helps with losing pay or benefits due to weather.
Depending on where you live, the weather might not be much of an issue, but those living in all-season weather have to plan. The U.S. Midwest is drastically affected by the Polar Vortex (cold winds from the north and warm air from the south), making weather hard to predict and may cause extremes. Having weather plans in place for those in or around the Midwest area is very important.
Knowing your company’s guidelines and your personal feelings towards safety will help you prepare for whatever weather may come your way.