17 February 2022

The Met Office has issued a rare Red Weather Warning as Storm Eunice is expected to bring extremely strong winds and continued disruption for much of the UK on Friday.

The Red Weather Warning for wind covers southwest coastal areas of the UK, where the most significant gusts in exposed areas could be in excess of 90mph from early Friday morning. Other areas of the UK have been given an amber warning with winds expecting to hit up to 80mph.

Due to the expected storm, calls to the NHBF membership team have increased in the last couple of days. Salon and barbershop owners are unclear about whether they have to pay staff who fail to turn up because of the adverse weather conditions.

The NHBF advises that salon and barbershop owners who decide to close their business because of the weather must pay their staff. However, business owners do not have to pay staff who remain at home if the salon or barbershop opens.

Hairdressers and stylists who have decided to stay at home would have to take any days off as a holiday, try to make up any missed hours over the next few days or take time off as unpaid leave.

There will be genuine reasons for absence in some instances, and employers should be sympathetic to those employees. For example, if a member of staff is required to stay home to care for their children because their school is closed due to the high winds – this should be managed in accordance with your dependents leave policy in your Employee Handbook. However, there are cases where employees will use these conditions as an excuse not to turn up to work.

Suppose employers find that employees have used the weather as a reason to take time off. In that case, they are well within their rights to not pay the employee for the time they have taken off or request that the individual take it as annual leave. If necessary, they could investigate the circumstances behind the absence and consider whether disciplinary action would be appropriate.

The NHBF would suggest that Members put in place a formal procedure to deal with employees who are absent from work in such situations. Having a process to follow means an employer can show that employees are treated equally, fairly and reasonably, which is important if they want to discipline them for poor attendance.

NHBF Members can download our staff handbook, which sets out the rules and procedures that are in place to ensure the smooth, safe and efficient operation of the business so that everyone benefits. The Handbook should be read in conjunction with the Statement of Main Terms of Employment.

The NHBF strongly recommends that all salons and barbershops keep updated with the latest weather forecast that can be done through the Met Office website and make provisions for their business where necessary.