RED ALERT AND EMPLOYEE RIGHTS
Now that we are basking in positively tropical temperatures approaching 2C and the worst of THE BEAST FROM THE EAST has melted away we can consider what the position is for employees who could not make it to their workplace.
The first port of call is the employer/employee contract, which will have been signed by both the employer and the employee. The contract may very well stipulate what is to happen.
If the employment contract is silent then, under Irish law the situation is that employers are not legally obliged to pay staff who do not turn up to work. If the workplace is open but an employee cannot get to his/her workplace then an employee is not legally entitled to be paid. So, if the weather is horrendous and an employee cannot make it to his or her place of work then that employee is not entitled to be paid. However, as with all things, common sense can go a long way. Red Alerts are not common events. In these unusual situations an employer may consider that in the interests of nurturing a positive employer/employee relationship he or she would pay the employee for the missed day.
Of course, nowadays a proportion of the population may very well be able to work from home and may do so with the express consent of their employer. This is assuming that the power lines are intact and the wifi hasn't gone down.
While the authorities were urging employers to do the right thing by their employees in the throes of the recent red alert, it is most interesting to note that it was reported that a HSE memo sent to staff last week stated that "where for health and safety reasons some employees are unable to attend for duty, those affected can be granted annual leave form their allocation for the hours they were scheduled".