❄️ A Guide to Creating an Inclement Weather Policy ❄️

Severe weather can be unpredictable but your company’s reaction to it shouldn’t be!

An Inclement Weather / Emergency Policy provides helpful details about your company’s procedures and helps to set appropriate expectations with employees about what to do when bad weather strikes or there is an emergency. 

Here is a suggested policy that you can use as a guide when developing your own:

(ABC Company) recognizes that inclement weather or an emergency may temporarily prevent the availability and operation of services. These situations may create difficult and dangerous travel and work conditions, which may interfere with the normal business operations of .

For the purpose of this policy, the following definitions will apply:

  • Inclement Weather: means the existence of abnormal climatic conditions (ie. blizzard, hail, snow, high winds or any combination thereof) by virtue of which it is not reasonable or safe to travel to or from work.
  • Emergency: means a situation, or an impending situation caused by the forces of nature, an accident, an intentional act or otherwise that constitutes a danger of major proportions to life or property.

This policy applies to all regular full-time, part-time and contract employees, and volunteers of .

The decision to delay opening or close any facility or cease operations will be made by or designate, taking into consideration weather severity, available forecasts, transportation warnings, accessibility of facilities, and the overall safety of employees and customers.

If operations cease employees will be paid, at their regular rate of pay, for the normal working hours of the day following the closure.

All closures will be communicated via .

All employees are expected to check on inclement weather days. 

⚠️ Add a statement if managers are responsible for ensuring their direct reports are notified of delays or closures, or if employees are responsible for notifying customers of the same.

During an inclement weather or emergency event, unless otherwise directed, employees shall make every reasonable effort to attend work at their regularly scheduled time and location to ensure that general operations are functioning as per usual.

Given the variability of severe weather, employees are expected to take the necessary steps to be prepared in advance. This may mean making childcare arrangements, allowing extra time to clear snow and/or the anticipation of traffic delays.

During an inclement weather event or emergency, management may schedule employees with regard to safety, travel distance, operational need and employee concerns. This may include alternative work locations, working from home (if applicable), modified start and end times, etc. Managers will communicate directly with employees to arrange any such work modifications.

If an employee chooses not to travel to work, expects to be late, or wishes to leave work early during inclement weather or an emergency, shall observe standard protocols for reporting absences and will be required to use earned personal or vacation time, or take the day without pay.

Absences due to inclement weather of less than will be forgiven, and the lost time will not be required to be made up.

When weather conditions worsen as the day progresses or there is an emergency, may decide to cease operations early.  Employees will be expected to remain at work until the appointed closing time, unless their day ends prior to that time, or unless they receive permission from their supervisor to leave early. 

In the event of a delayed opening or an early closure, all permanent employees will receive their regular pay for the time of the closure.  Hourly employees will be paid for the time worked or an amount equivalent to [#] hours of base pay for the day, whichever is greater.

⚠️Check labour standards for minimum reporting wage laws in your jurisdiction.

If inclement weather or emergency occurs on an employee’s scheduled day off, the employee will not receive additional time off in lieu.

Employees who are required to work additional hours beyond their normal shift, as result of inclement weather or an emergency, will receive payment for these additional hours in line with their terms and conditions of regular employment.

If operations have ceased during an inclement weather event or an emergency, employees are not permitted to be on company premise at any time during the closure.  Any exceptions must be approved by the .  

Failure to adhere to the requirements outlined in this Policy may lead to progressive disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

⚠️It is a best practice to ask employees to sign-off on policy manuals (or individual policies if a manual does not exist).

Beverly Somers

HR Consultant – SMART HR