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Managing staff absence in bad weather

As winter approaches and the prospect of bad weather returns, managing staff absence can be a challenge for employers.

Adverse weather can have a catastrophic effect on the economy, with the heavy snow of the long cold spell in the lead-up to Christmas 2010 estimated to have cost the country £13 billion. Staff absence rates tend to rise dramatically as road and rail disruption, combined with school closures, force many workers to remain at home. But the onset of bad weather does not have to signal disaster for businesses. Effective absence management and flexible working options can help maintain staff productivity and reduce the cost to businesses.

Having a clear adverse weather policy - and communicating and implementing it effectively - is key to managing staff absence in the winter months. It also pays to make it clear to staff where they stand. Employees can sometimes be uncertain about their statutory rights, such as whether they are entitled to parental leave when childcare arrangements break down. Providing options for taking extra leave or working remotely can play a huge part in maintaining staff motivation and morale during periods of weather disruption.

Acas absence policy training helps reduce absence in the workplace and improve overall workplace productivity. Experts are also on hand to work with organisations to assess specific needs and design tailored training programmes. Acas additionally offers training on flexible working and implementing family-friendly policies in the workplace.

Find out more about Acas training and business solutions.

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