HTA personnel and training adviser Penny Worner have had several calls from garden centre owners on this issue during the recent cold snap, as has HW.
She said that while very few jobs except construction have specific contract clauses where workers lose pay because of the weather and employees have statutory protection against unauthorised deducations from wages, managers can agree with staff to make up lost time later.
Worner said: "If a person can't get in it is down to the employer and employee to agree they take a day's paid holiday, unpaid leave or for the employer to pay the normal wage and for them to make the time up later.
"In horticulture that is fairly easy because of peak times ahead in the spring.
"But you have to be clear with staff you are prepared to pay them as normal but you have to be specific about the times they are going to work — they can't take it when they feel like it, it has to be proper work and if they don't fulfil it by a specified date there is an automatic deduction from their next salary."
Staff have the statutory right to unpaid emergency time off to look after children kept off school.
Landscapers may have contracts with staff where they have agreed not to pay them if bad weather prevents work.
The HTA's next magazine will include an article on the issue.
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