We have a comprehensive policy in place for staff to deal with the types of severe weather situations we have been dealing with over the last week.
During these situations, we need to ensure that we can keep essential services running, while at the same time treat staff fairly and equally.
- On the first day of these types of events, we are flexible in terms of allowing staff to go home etc, and we authorise managers to credit time to a normal day.
- After that - we ask staff to report as normal for critical services such as home care, roads, environmental services etc so that we can protect our vulnerable people and respond to the emergency. (Over the last five days, we have had our own ranger staff, Lothian 4x4s and mountain rescue teams assisting with bringing staff to work and taking them to remoter areas to help vulnerable people or those needing home care or medical attention).
- Other staff are advised that they can report to their nearest work place or work from home where possible. Teachers are expected to be able to work from home on things like lesson plans and exam support etc.
- If all these options fail, then we ask staff to use flexi-time or leave to cover absences after the first day. We also ensure that we are flexible in allowing staff to make up the time over a reasonable period.
This approach ensures that we comply with employment law and also treats staff fairly and equally. It would be impossible to maintain critical services and respond to these types of emergencies if we did not differentiate between those who were working and those who were not.
We are looking to explore possibilities for staff to work in their own localities by aligning them with Community Resilience Groups to undertake community work.
Staff were provided with regular updates during the course of the severe weather via global zz emails and on the staff intranet.