It now looks like snow is almost certain overnight – so do you have to go to work tomorrow?

We have put together a quick question and answer for those of you hoping to stay in bed - or go out and build snowmen.

Can my boss make me come to work it it’s unsafe?

No. Employers owe a duty of care to their employees and must not put them in a situation that would compromise their safety.

Will I be paid if I don’t come to work?

Maybe. The employee is only entitled to full pay if the employer opts to close the workplace or tells them not to come in.

But the law is not clear on this point. If an employment contract sets out that payment will be for work done – for example hourly paid workers – then arguably the employer is not obliged to pay.

In the case of salaried employees, if the employee is ready, willing and able to work - bar the weather disruption - there could be an argument that any deduction would be unlawful. Employers need to set out their position clearly and draft their policies and contracts in line with that position.

If my workplace closes, do they still have to pay me?

Generally, yes. Employees with contractually guaranteed hours must still be paid – however, zero hours employees or employees with effective lay-off clauses might not need to be paid.

Watford Observer:

What if my school or childcare provider is shut?

If that happens, parents are allowed unpaid time to make other arrangements.

If the parent can’t make other arrangements, they could do the childcare themselves and take up their right to unpaid parental leave.

Section 57A(e) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 allows employees to take a reasonable period of time off to deal with an unexpected incident which involves the employee's child while they are at school (or another educational establishment). School closure due to weather is likely to fall under these rules.

As soon as reasonably practicable, you must tell your employer of the need to leave work and the reason for this. This should include sufficient information to enable the employer to determine whether the statutory right applies.

You must also tell the employer how long they expect to be away from work (unless it is not reasonably practicable). The right is to take a "reasonable" amount of time off to take action which is "necessary", and this will always depend on the circumstances.

But the clincher here is that you might not be paid during this time.

Is there a minimum legal temperature in the workplace?

An approved code of practice says that the temperature must be at least 16C in an office and 13C in places of physical labour.

But these limits are not legally binding. An employer should carry out a risk assessment and determine what is reasonable in each circumstance.

Employers have a duty of care towards their employees. This will apply in the event of extreme weather including thermal comfort of employees, but there are no prescribed limits.

What else do I need to know?

Remember the ‘Beast from the East’ on March 1 and 2, last year?

Things can change very quickly. Roads can become very dangerous. If a boss doesn't make the right call about closing or shutting, staff can be stranded.

Employers should plan ahead and have a severe weather/disruption to travel policy and communicate it everyone in advance.

A delayed start or early finish to the day could be more realistic to assist staff.