France is sometimes paralyzed by heavy snowfalls. If this rarely lasts more than a few days, the journey from home to work can be disrupted. To the point of arriving late at his post, or even not being able to leave home at all. So what does the law say about such bad weather conditions? Many employees are unaware of how to proceed in such a situation. Can I stay at home? What can I tell my employer? Do I have to go to work? In reality, the rule that applies is very simple. Any employee who cannot make the trip to his workplace in snowy weather is obliged to inform his company as soon as possible. This applies to absences, but also to delays. The employer must therefore be informed as soon as possible.
If heavy snowfall or limited access to transport routes prevents an employee from coming to work or causes a delay, he cannot be punished for this reason alone. Does this mean that an employee can take advantage of the slightest drop of snowflakes not to work? Of course not, no. To avoid any bad faith on the part of employees, criteria have been established. For example, it is not enough for a few centimetres of snow to cover a road to avoid coming to work. If the road is still passable, conditions will not be sufficient to be absent or arrive late. Only cases of force majeure are concerned, in other words, the road network must not be practicable. If the employee travels on foot and lives next to his office, he will also not be able to invoke the reason of bad weather to justify his absence or delay.
If snow blocks access to roads and you have notified your employer of your inability to travel, your company may decide to deduct your time off work from your salary, whether it is hours, half days or full days not worked. She'll be within her rights. Depending on the case, it is quite possible that the collective agreement may provide for more flexible and advantageous conditions for employees, for example, salary maintenance even in cases of force majeure. If this is not the case in your structure and you do not wish to see your remuneration decrease, you still have the option of taking a day of recovery, RTT or leave.
In the event of heavy snowfall in the evening, you can ask your employer to leave your workplace earlier. In any case, its agreement is essential and should not be taken for granted.
An alternative solution exists to continue working despite the snow. If your work allows it, you can use telework (refer to this page https://www.manatime.com/blog/teletravail). An alternative that is increasingly popular with managers and office workers, it is all the more suitable in bad weather. Ask your employer if you can exceptionally work from home. The proposal can be made by the employee himself, but can also come from the employer. In this case, the employee may very well refuse to work from home, particularly if he does not have the necessary working environment or equipment to carry out his tasks.
Employees who work outside the company are often the first to be affected by climate disruptions. In the event of heavy snowfall, the employer is obliged to take the necessary measures to protect its workers. The first step is often to consult the occupational medicine and the Committee on Health, Safety and Working Conditions (CHSCT). Under certain conditions, employees in the public works and construction sectors who have to stop working in snowy weather may be eligible for compensation.
The employer is obliged by the Labour Code to take "all necessary measures to ensure the protection of workers against cold and bad weather". In other words, he cannot force his employees to work outside in extreme cold or snowfall. If the health of workers is threatened and they do not have the necessary equipment to continue working under good conditions, they can exercise their right to withdraw. The company must be able to take the necessary measures to combat serious and real dangers that could affect employees outside the company. In such a context, more than anywhere else, disputes related to delays and absences are very common.
In the event of snowfall, employees can therefore stay at home if the roads are not passable. It is possible to continue working at a distance or to return home earlier. In any case, it is essential that employers and employees take precautions and are aware of their rights and duties in this regard.
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