Bad weather absenteeism could cost £230m

Published:  06 January, 2010

CHESHIRE: The Met Office has warned that minimum temperatures have dropped to their lowest for 15 years, with snow expected to be between 15 and 25cm deep in places and the Forum of Private Business (FPB) is warning that the cost of a single day of employee absenteeism because of the freezing winter conditions could be at least £230m.

The calculation was made using information including the daily GDP figure, anticipated vehicle breakdown levels from the AA, average salaries and official data reflecting an expected fall in retail sales.

“Employees make businesses grow and losing key staff because of the weather, even for just a day, is very damaging, particularly in the current economic climate,” said the FPB’s research manager, Tom Parry. “It is important that employers put in place contingency plans for these occasions and that these plans comply with employment law.

“For example, home working might be seen as a solution – obviously not for manufacturers and retailers – but business owners should be aware that it is their responsibility to ensure that employees’ houses meet health and safety standards.”

The FPB is supporting small businesses through its recently updated Employment Guide, which contains information and guidance on almost every aspect of employment, as well as practical help on complying with the law.

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