Policy actions  4 of 4

Severe weather charter

We encourage all employers to consider workers’ needs when planning for periods of severe weather and to adopt a fair work first approach.

Fair Work Charter for Severe Weather

We have developed a Fair Work Charter for Severe Weather in conjunction with the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) to support employers to plan for and manage the impacts of severe weather conditions on workers and their business.

The Charter encourages employers, workers and unions to agree a specific policy setting out what will happen in the event of severe weather conditions. 

It meets a joint commitment from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and General Secretary of the STUC Grahame Smith, following the so called 'beast from the east' storm in February 2018. 

It is clear that the majority of employers made sensible and responsible decisions to safeguard the well-being of their workers during this time. Examples of positive action included:

  • relaxing of contractual obligations
  • swift action to minimise impacts on those with accessible travel needs and caring responsibilities
  • considering the needs of those requiring continued provision of essential services

We also know, however, that many workers were unhappy with their employers response to the weather conditions, as evidenced by research carried out by the STUC .

Some of the unfair practices that workers highlighted from during the Met Office’s red warning, included:

  • penalties for not completing contractual obligations
  • being compelled to travel under threats of discipline
  • not being released from work until it was too dangerous to travel and public transport had been cancelled
  • lack of clarity on contractual pay arrangements

We will continue to work with business organisations to ensure that the Charter and its fair work principles help employers prepare for future severe weather.

Met Office weather warnings

The Met Office plays an important part in dealing with severe weather situations and we recommend that employers and managers sign up to receive weather alerts on the Met Office website or app.

This will provide important advice on what to expect when severe weather is forecast and allow early preparations to be made and to inform workers of their responsibilities. Likewise, the Traffic Scotland website offers key travel information and provides details of Police travel warnings.

Further information

Employers and workers should consider the advice available from the following organisations:

Traffic Scotland: