UPDATE 5 March: The branch office is open again now. It may take a bit of time to catch up on things so please be patient.
UPDATE 1 March 15.20: Due to the continuing adverse weather today, the branch office is closed but we will review later. If you need urgent advice, please email email@example.com and we will check it remotely throughout the day. Or contact UNISON Direct on 0800 0 857 857.
The following updated email at 15.17 has gone out from management to staff working for the City of Edinburgh Council: (see also below for council guidance if you can’t get to work)
Edinburgh Council email 1 March 15.17
We’re expecting weather conditions to remain challenging tomorrow. The Met Office amber warning will remain in place until 10am and Lothian Buses are considering whether they will be able to re-start services from 6am.
If they do, and you’re not impacted by closures, i.e. schools, libraries, etc, we would ask you to make every effort to come into work tomorrow.
Should Lothian Buses decide not to re-start their services, we will revert to today’s arrangements and ask non-essential colleagues not to travel into work and continue to work from home, where possible. As ever, please speak to your line manager if you have any questions.
To make sure you can keep up to date with changes if you’re away from the office or don’t have access to emails, we’re providing updates on our website.
Edinburgh Council email 1 March 2018 10.30
Severe weather warning – update
A red weather warning issued by the Met Office yesterday that applied until 10am this morning has now been lifted and has reduced to an amber warning, although this may change.
Having reviewed the latest information, non-essential colleagues are not expected to travel into work today and should continue to work remotely, from home. However, for those colleagues providing essential services they are asked, if it is safe to do so, that they make all efforts to attend work as normal, if possible. Please speak to your line manager to confirm if you’re required.
As this situation is out of our control, and your safety is important to us, colleagues who are unable to make it into work, or work from home, will not need to make up any time you take off by using flexible work arrangements, annual leave, flexi-leave, TOIL or unpaid leave.
We’ll continue to review the situation during the course of the day and provide further updates.
Edinburgh Council email 28 Feb 2018
Red weather warning – immediate action required
The Met Office have issued a red weather warning which currently applies from 3pm today until 10am tomorrow, although this may change.
Line managers are now requested to speak to their teams and those colleagues who can be released are to make their way home immediately. This instruction is being made to ensure the safety of our colleagues whilst maintaining essential services. Speak to your line manager if you’re unclear if your role is deemed as essential at this time.
As this warning is currently in place until 10am tomorrow, this means that non-essential colleagues will not be expected to travel into work before this red weather warning is lifted.
If the warning is lifted before 10am tomorrow, and it’s safe to travel to work, then you should do so as normal. However, if the warning remains in place or is extended, colleagues should continue to work from home until it’s lifted. Please keep your line manager updated with your situation.
Severe weather arrangements
(Taken from the City of Edinburgh Council Intranet)
In the interests of consistency, it’s useful to remind all staff of the arrangements which apply when they cannot get to work due to severe weather, when buildings are closed and when staff are sent home or ask to go home.
Many staff providing front-line services to Edinburgh’s citizens will be exposed to severe weather. As they’re not office-based, they may be required to continue working, even when offices are closed, to make sure essential services continue to be delivered. We’ll do as much as we can to support these members of staff, whether by providing them with protective equipment or, in extreme circumstances, 4×4 vehicles.
Making the time up
When you’re required to make the time up
Where you cannot reach your workplace or where you’ve been given permission to leave early at your own request, you’ll be required to make the time up by using flexible work arrangements, annual leave, flexi leave, TOIL or unpaid leave.
When you’re not required to make the time up
When a management decision has been taken to send staff home or close a building during periods of severe weather, then normal pay arrangements will apply and you’ll not be required to use annual leave, flexi leave, TOIL or unpaid leave.
Where staff have been sent home, any staff members who are already absent at that time on approved leave will not be entitled to have the leave reinstated.
Child’s school is closed
If you’re unable to get to work because your child’s school is being closed and you need to look after them, then you’ll be able to apply for up to one day’s paid leave for breakdown of normal care arrangements, in order to make alternative childcare arrangements, provided the closure was unforeseen.
However, if you’ve used your entitlement already in the last 12 months, you won’t be able to get this. No other paid special leave’s available. It’s your responsibility to cover any further time-off needs by using annual, flexi time or unpaid leave.
Getting to and from work
You should make every effort to reach your place of work on time each working day. However, there may be occasions when weather conditions are so severe that you won’t be able to get to work. You may also have to come in late or leave work early.
If you can’t make it to your normal workplace
If weather conditions mean that you can’t make it in to your normal place of work, contact your line manager as soon as possible. Your manager may be able to support you by allowing you
- annual leave, unpaid leave, or flexi leave – if you’re part of the Flexible Working Hours Scheme
- to work from home, if the nature of your work allows this
- to report to an alternative workplace – if appropriate
- to work a compressed working week, for example, longer hours over fewer days
- to re-arrange your shift pattern or working hours to allow some flexibility in attendance times. If this results in a shortfall of hours, you’ll need to make up the time at a future date that you have agreed with your manager
- to be given alternative duties.
There’s no paid special leave provision available as a result of adverse weather conditions. This is the case no matter what has prevented you from being able to attend work because of bad weather, for example no public transport, being blocked in by snow, or being unable to walk due to excess snow.
If you have concerns about travelling
If you’re concerned about travelling because of the weather and ask to leave early, your manager will try to accommodate this, if there’s a risk to your safety. In such circumstances, you’ll be required to cover your absence by using annual or unpaid leave, flexi leave or TOIL.
Any request to leave early must be authorised by a manager. You cannot simply choose to leave early without your managers’ approval.
Hazardous conditions mean you’re sent home early
If management decide to send you home due to a building closure or where severe weather is making travelling exceptionally hazardous, you’ll be paid as normal for that day. Managers will communicate with all affected staff before they’re sent home. You’ll not be required to cover the absence with annual leave, unpaid leave, flexi-leave or TOIL.
If you’ve used annual or flexi leave, or have agreed a temporary adjustment to your working pattern, you’ll receive your pay as normal. If you’ve agreed to use unpaid leave, your pay will be reduced accordingly.
In cases when the authority has made the decision to close your place of work, you’ll be paid as normal.
Employees on flexitime
You should record your actual attendance hours. Core times will be relaxed to allow for actual clocking in and out times.
So if you need to leave early because you’re worried about transport home, remember to key out as you leave, even if it’s still in core time. This will allow staff to attend work for short periods of time, if that’s all that they’re able to do. Additional credits will not be given.
If this means that you’ve worked less hours that you should
You’ll need to make up the hours during the accounting period, as this may mean that your pay will have to be adjusted.
If the drop in hours happens towards the end of an accounting period, consideration may be given to relaxing the shortfall carry-forward limit, provided it’s reconciled in the next accounting period.
Using more than one a half days of flex
The scheme doesn’t allow for more than one and a half days of flexi leave in each accounting period. However, as an exception, if you have a lot of flexitime built up, your manager may allow you to use it to cover absences during severe weather conditions.
Building and school closures
If you work in a school and aren’t able to get to work, you should contact your line manager as soon as possible. It’s likely that you’ll be given the option of reporting to your nearest school. If this isn’t possible, your Head Teacher may agree that you can work from home or plan additional work in the future which would allow you to make up the time. If none of this is possible, the only remaining option is to request unpaid leave.
Child’s school is closed
If you’re unable to get to work because your child’s school’s being closed and you need to look after them, then you’ll be able to apply for up to one day’s paid leave for breakdown of normal care arrangements, in order to make alternative childcare arrangements, provided the closure was unforeseen.
However, if you’ve used your entitlement already in the last 12 months, you won’t be able to get this. No other paid special leave’s available. It’s your responsibility to cover any further time-off needs by using annual, flexi-time or unpaid leave.
Building has been closed
If the weather is so severe that a decision is made to close a building, staff will be paid as normal. Managers will try to communicate the closure to all affected staff in advance, in order to prevent them travelling to work only to have to return home again.
Other building closures
In cases when the authority has made the decision to close your place of work, and there are no alternative buildings available to work at, you will be paid as normal. In this case, there is no option to cancel any previously approved annual leave or flex-leave.