As sure as we are Canadian, we are going to get a variety of weather that might require us to close our businesses until the storm passes. Be it snowstorms, wildfires or hurricanes, establishing a policy for storm closings before a weather emergency arises will help your business run smoothly and keep your employees safe from dangerous travel.
An Inclement Weather Policy, also known as a Storm Day Policy, needs to include the following:
When will the business close?
Decide if there is certain amount of snow fall or a category of wind that will automatically close the business. If this option doesn’t seem practical, you could tie your closures to other closures, such as government offices or when the transportation department limits travel.
Who will make the final decision?
Determine who makes the final call on when the business is closed. Is it the owner, the office manager or another employee? Make sure all employees are aware of this decision.
How you will communicate the closure?
There are lots of ways you can communicate with your employees. It is important to choose communication methods that all employees have access to, and bear in mind that power may go down during a storm. Do you want employees to:
- Contact a specific person?
- Call into a recorded message?
- Visit the business’ Facebook page?
- Use a phone tree?
- Wait for an email or text message?
Who can work from home?
Cloud computing, Skype and other technologies make working from home easier than ever. Your policy should list which jobs are eligible for this option and who the worker should contact to arrange a work-from-home day.
This can be a good way to keep workers productive while avoiding dangerous travel conditions.
Are employees getting paid?
Provincial labour standards do not require you to pay employees when the business is closed, but you may be required to pay employees a minimum reporting wage if they were at work and sent home.
Being prepared to weather the storm will help you reduce stress and prevent dangerous situations for your employees.