An employer in this situation has no legal obligation to pay staff if your employees don’t make it in to work, even if they are prevented from making the journey to work.

Storm Ophelia over farm and mountainsThere is of course the facility for employees to rely on what is known as Force Majeure Leave. This is a right provided to employees under Section 13 of the Parental Leave Act, 1998. However if you are an employer faced with an employee seeking to rely on Force Majeure Leave and entitlement to pay thereon, remember Force majeure leave is actually paid leave, but it arises where for urgent family reasons owing to illness or injury the immediate attendance of the employee is required at the same place the injured/ill person is.

It may be taken in respect of a child, Husband, Wife or direct family member.

Section 13. sets out—(1) An employee shall be entitled to leave with pay from his or her employment, to be known and referred to in this Act as “force majeure leave”, where, for urgent family reasons, owing to an injury to or the illness of a person specified in subsection (2), the immediate presence of the employee at the place where the person is, whether at his or her home or elsewhere, is indispensable. So your message as an employer could be this employee relief does not apply here.

So the one thing that employers need to know, unless you have provided for it in advance via the employees Terms and Conditions or Contract of Employment, similar to a sick pay scenario, if the employee does not turn up for work during yesterday’s Storm Ophelia you do not need to pay.

Should you have any further questions relating to the above or Employment Law in general, please do not hesitate to contact Carter Anhold Employment Law Solicitors Sligo and Dublin.