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Businesses need to plan for severe weather, says FSB

As 2014 has been confirmed as the hottest year on record, and eight of the UK's ten warmest years have happened since 2002, we might suppose that extreme weather is becoming more common.

Last winter was the wettest on record, with some parts of the country seeing well over double the rainfall expected in a normal winter. Some 3,200 commercial properties were flooded.

Two-thirds of small businesses have been affected by floods, drought or snowfall over the last three years, according to research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Despite this, almost three out of five businesses (59 per cent) have no plans in place to deal with extreme weather, the FSB said.

Almost a third (29 per cent) had no insurance for damage or business interruption caused by flooding.


Be prepared

Mike Cherry of the FSB said, 'Small businesses need to get better prepared for extreme weather. However, we know that despite wind, water or fire, many small businesses do manage to stay open and continue to serve their customers.

'When disasters hit we would encourage people to continue to support their local businesses, many of which stay open whatever the weather.'

Acas recommends that organisations have an adverse weather policy, detailing what employees are expected to do if their normal travel routines are disrupted, and how the business might operate with missing staff.

Setting out a policy on how to deal with lateness and pay will reduce the potential for confusion and disagreement later.


Acas publications and services

Acas has detailed information on how to deal with adverse weather, including Travel disruption and bad weather, and other Acas guidance for employers on workplace issues over winter months, such as sickness, holiday entitlements and wellbeing.

Acas experts can visit your organisation and find bespoke answers to common workplace challenges. Call the customer services team on 0300 123 1150, or see Workshops, projects and business solutions for details.

Acas training is also available on the related areas of Absence management, Skills for supervisors, Contracts and terms and conditions, and Flexible working.

For free, impartial advice on any employment relations issue, call the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100, or consult Helpline Online.

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

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We recommend that you explore further information and advice available on this website, particularly within our Advice A-Z guidance pages. If you have questions about workplace rights and rules visit Helpline Online.
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