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Have you been threatened with losing annual leave because of the snow?

January 7, 2010

snow at LeedsPlease contact us if you have been told that you must take annual leave days if you have been unable to get to work due to the bad weather. We understand that the following message has been sent to staff in at least one area of the University: “Please note that staff are expected to make every attempt to get to work, despite the weather. If this proves impossible, then it is at the discretion of your Head of Division whether working from home is an acceptable alternative, or whether annual leave must be taken.”

When the police or other authorities have issued warnings not to make journeys, then the threat of losing annual leave entitlement due to bad weather is tantamount to demanding that you put yourself at risk in order to get to work. Colleagues, of course, have all made every effort to get to work, and many of us are capable of continuing to be productive whilst stuck at home using our own resources to our employer’s benefit.

If a member of staff can’t get to work because their childcare arrangements have collapsed unexpectedly and they have no alternative but to stay at home , they have the right to take “reasonable” time off work, but must inform the employer as soon as is possible. (See this)

Academic staff, admin/library/computing and other related grade 6 staff should note that they are considered “employees with autonomous decision making powers” as regards the working time directive, as, following advice from UCEA, the University considers you to be exempt from that regulation by using the argument you fit into that category (see this document). Your flexibility therefore should not be queried.

Update 8 January: UCU guidance on this issue (download Word file – docx format)

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