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Snow: don't pay the price for being taken by surprise

While delighting snowball throwers and snowman sculptors across the country, heavy snowfall can have a serious impact on the UK economy. Estimates about the cost of disruption due to snow vary, but there's no doubt that the country grinding to a halt comes at a price.

The Department of Transport estimated in 2011 that heavy snowfall in recent winters set the economy back by £280 million per day. But the year before, analysts from Royal Sun Alliance put the figure far higher at £1.2 billion per day.

It's often small businesses that feel the freeze worst. The impact of unplanned staff absences due to travel disruption are less easily absorbed in smaller workplaces. In the cold snap of 2009, the Federation of Small Businesses estimated 6.4 million, or one in five workers, failed to get to work because of the snow. Another knock-on is the increased likelihood of delayed payments, which could upset cash flow to a critical degree, particularly in the current economic situation.

That's why it's so important for businesses to be prepared for winter weather and plan for any disruption.

Acas gives detailed advice on Travel disruption and bad weather and covers key issues such as absence due to travel delays, flexible working options during adverse weather, and developing an effective 'journey into work' policy. Acas also offers general practical training on Absence management and Flexible working.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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