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RCN calls on employers to be 'sympathetic' over extreme weather


Royal College of Nursing has made a plea to employers not to deduct holiday from nurses unable to get to work because of the snow this week.

The college said staff should make “every reasonable effort” to get to work but should also consider their personal safety and pay attention to local weather warnings and police advice. 

It also warned nurses they may be expected to take annual leave or make up time at a later date if you are unable to get into work.

However, the RCN said it would “expect employers to be sympathetic given the extreme nature of the weather”.

The college’s employment relations team recommended that if staff were asked to take leave, they should seek to use already accrued time owing or take the time as unpaid leave. 

RCN head of employment relations Josie Irwin said: “Employers should look at this in terms of good will and recognise the extra hours that healthcare staff work throughout the year without pay.

“There is no legal requirement to pay someone if they are unable to get into work although there may be local policies that allow for this. However, employers should always discuss the situation with employees as there should be no automatic default to deduction of wages.”


Readers' comments (3)

  • That is fine but there were two nurses due on the ward this morning at 7am. They both phoned to say they could not make it because of the snow. When they were informed that it would have to be unpaid leave they both surprisingly made it into work within an hour. Some people use the weather as an excuse to spend it in bed, especially as the wards are full and heavy at the moment. This should be taken into consideration.

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  • Anonymous 1:40. Agreed, & we had mixture of people who made superhuman effort & people from same road who didn't(!). But that's why, although I've heard people who legitimately can't get in describe it as draconian, if people weren't made to use AL/time owing, then the motivation (apart from the major one of the patients) for people to put on their boots and hike miles in wouldn't be there & the problem would be worse, with more people tempted to take duvet days.

    However, given the time in the financial/AL year where people may not have enough AL hours left (or already have holidays booked) then some leeway seems reasonable if no doubt a member of staff couldn't get in safely.

    Although...given the current financial climate, I can see management rubbing their hands - not to keep warm but for all those 'hours owing' that they can get people to work and save on bank staff!! (oops, hope that doesn't give them ideas!)

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  • I think it was an excuse for those who don't care about their colleagues / clients to pull the duvet over their heads. I bet every ward in the country knew who would make an effort and who would not!

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