Human Resources

Guidance on staff attendance during periods of major transport disruption or severe weather conditions

Introduction

1. There will be occasions when transport is disrupted that create difficulties for staff attending the University on time or at all. This guidance clarifies expectations on attendance at work where disruption is caused to normal travel arrangements and on how resulting absences will be dealt with when normal working becomes impossible. This guidance applies to all staff.

Principles

2. This guidance is based on the recognition and appreciation that staff make every reasonable effort to attend work and that non-attendance is for a genuine reason. Where normal travel arrangements have broken down, all possible alternatives should be explored, including, where distance and fitness permit, walking. The University does not expect any member of staff to put themselves at risk, either at work or in travelling to work.

3. The University will be open unless a specific message is made on the University website, local radio, official recorded message line or if it is to close early via a message from the Vice-Chancellor or nominated Deputy. To ensure that staff know whether to start travelling to the University a decision will be made and communicated as early as possible at the start of the day.

4. Where a member of staff is unable to get to work or is likely to be significantly delayed, they must inform their line manager at the earliest opportunity, and, if appropriate, give an indication of their expected time of arrival. If the line manager is unavailable a message should be left either on an answer phone, if available, or by email to show that an attempt at contact was made

5. Where a member of staff arrives at work late due to major transport disruption or severe weather conditions they will not be required to make up the lost time and will not suffer any loss of pay.

6. Where attendance at work is not possible at all there is no automatic entitlement to payment for the absence. Staff will be required where possible to work from home.

Guidance in detail

Severe Weather overnight causing disruption at the start of the day

7. Staff should make every effort to get to work. If they normally travel by car and are unable to then they should try alternative arrangements, e.g. public transport. If a regular bus or train service is not operating then it may be possible to use a later service, use a different operator or get to an alternative bus stop or station which is unaffected by the disruption.

8. Staff who live within a reasonable distance and who are fit would be expected to walk to work.

9. Where every effort has been made to attend work and an individual arrives after their normal starting time they will not be penalised. No deduction from pay will be made and they will not be required to make up the lost time.

10. Where the member of staff’s work allows and where appropriate facilities are available, it may be possible for staff, with the agreement of their manager, to work at home.

11. Where it is clear that travel to work will be problematic, the member of staff must telephone his/her line manager at the earliest opportunity to advise them of the situation and discuss whether it is possible to undertake any work at home. If the line manager is unavailable a message should be left either on an answer phone, if available, or by email to show that an attempt at contact was made

12. Where attendance at work is not possible and work cannot be undertaken elsewhere, the individual should agree with their line manager which of the following ways to treat the absence for payment purposes

Annual leave

In most instances it will be acceptable for a day’s annual leave to be used, and, if the full year’s leave entitlement has already been exhausted, it will be acceptable for a day to be brought forward from the next leave year.

Time off in lieu (TOIL)

Alternatively, the individual member of staff may elect to take the absence as time in lieu and make up any lost time on days/dates as agreed with their line manager.

Authorised unpaid leave

As an alternative and subject to the agreement of the line manager, the member of staff may elect to take the day as unpaid leave. The manager will notify payroll accordingly and an appropriate deduction will be made from normal salary.

Severe weather conditions occurring during the working day

13. Where severe weather conditions develop during the course of the working day, and it appears that staff may have difficulty in travelling home, it will be for the Vice-Chancellor or nominated Deputy to decide whether to close the University and send staff home early.

14. In making such a decision, due regard will be given to advice and information from appropriate sources, e.g. local radio, police and motoring organisations.

15. Where a decision is made to send staff home before the end of the normal working day no deduction from pay will be made.

16. Where the severe weather conditions persist until the next working day, the provisions above will apply.

University closure

17. In the event of the University closure staff will receive their normal pay and will be required where possible to work from home.

18. Key staff who are essential to keeping the University running over the period of the University closure will be asked to attend as normal; where possible the University will assist key staff attending the Campus, for example, by collecting staff in a four wheel drive vehicle.

19. Key staff will be defined by the relevant Heads of the Department and will normally be in the Departments of Sports Development and Recreation, Estates, Accommodation and Hospitality including Security, retail and commercial operations and other operations where 24 hour support is required. Those individuals categorised as key staff for these purposes may vary from day to day.

20. Key staff who are able to attend will receive reimbursement as follows:

Staff on Grades 1-5:

Payment at plain time for the hours worked in addition to their normal pay for the day.

Staff on Grades 6-9

Time off in lieu for hours worked in addition to their normal pay for the day.

21. Other staff who attend work not realising the University is closed will be free to either return home and work from there or remain at the University. However, they will not receive any additional payments.

Time off for family reasons

22. There may be circumstances where a member of staff’s ability to travel or attend work is not affected by the transport disruption or the adverse weather conditions themselves, but because of a need to provide emergency care for family or other dependents due to for example, school or nursery closures.

23. In such circumstances the Dependent Care Leave provisions will apply.

24. Where a member of staff has a disability or a medical condition that may have a greater impact in severe weather conditions, managers should consider whether any reasonable adjustments may be made to support them. Advice and guidance on specific cases is available from the HR Manager and the Occupational Health Service.

Implementation

25. This guidance on staff attendance is to be used during periods of major transport disruption or severe weather conditions only. Line Managers should ensure that staff are clear on the reporting arrangements for delayed arrival or non-attendance and on which types of work are most suitable to work on at home should the occasion arise.