Inclement/Adverse Weather - Policy

General principles

It is expected that all staff will make all reasonable efforts to get to work. This may be by private or public transport, or on foot depending on circumstances and location.

The key issue is to judge the situation as it arises, and to make all reasonable efforts to get to work, whilst also taking into account a person’s own safety and the travel conditions.

If you are unable to come to work, please phone/email the appropriate person within your department by 9.30 am to let them know about your situation. If you do not have access to a telephone, for example, if you have already set out for work but cannot get in, please ensure that you contact the appropriate person within your School / Research Institute / Service as soon as you can.

In some cases staff may be able to make up the working hours lost due to adverse weather by working longer as soon as practicable on resumption of normal conditions. This will be a matter for local management to agree and organise

Possible Action when Severe Adverse weather is predicted

For staff who can work at home (e.g. using VPN or can take work home), if severe conditions are predicted, you should discuss possible arrangements with your manager and consider undertaking work from home. If this arrangement could apply, you should make contingency arrangements for this before leaving work.

Staff should ensure they are as prepared as they reasonably can be for such conditions, e.g. equipment in the car, appropriate footwear, ensuring they have adequate medication for chronic conditions etc.

It is recognised that not all types of work can be done at home, and that for some roles, it is essential that staff make every effort to get to work.

Possible Action when Severe adverse weather has occurred

Unless the University issues instructions that it (or specific sites) will be closed, staff are expected to make all reasonable efforts to get to work, establish alternative working arrangements or take leave.

It is expected that staff who get to the site will work as normal as far as practicable and for as long as is practicable in the circumstances. If so, they will be paid as normal.

Staff who are able to set up alternative working arrangements to ensure that a high proportion of their normal workload can be delivered will be paid as normal, provided there is clear evidence that a significant amount of work has been completed.

If staff are unable to get to work and are unable to work from home, they will be expected to take leave. If staff wish to take paid leave, it can be taken from the current year’s allocation. If this year’s leave has been exhausted, staff can opt to draw down from next year’s allocation. Alternatively staff may opt for unpaid leave

If schools/nurseries/day-care centres are closed, the University’s policy on emergency time off to care for dependents will apply to relevant staff – Other Leave/ Time Off

This normally allows for up to 2 days leave, usually unpaid. It requires staff to notify their manager as soon as practicable. If the schools’/day-care centre’s closure is prolonged, staff may be able to make alternative care arrangements and return to work. Any other days of absence will be unpaid or must be taken from annual leave.

The care for dependents policy also covers staff who are the primary carers of other dependents such as grandparents etc.

For all other staff unable to get to work or set up workable alternatives, leave must be taken, whether from the annual leave entitlement, or unpaid leave.

In some cases staff may be able to make up the working hours lost due to adverse weather by working longer as soon as practicable on resumption of normal conditions. This will be a matter for local management to agree and organise.

Site closures

The decision on whether to close a site completely, or close early, will be made according to local circumstances and if appropriate, using external advice.

A decision will be made at the time about necessary site security and snow clearing resources.

It is important to co-ordinate the decision across a site whenever possible, but there may be exceptional circumstances where a VP/Head of College/College Secretary/Head of University Service believes it is necessary to act earlier.

On the Gilmorehill site, the decision will usually be made by the Principal/Senior Vice Principal and the Chief Operating Officer after consulting with the most senior Estates and Buildings Manager available, and with the most senior Security/Janitorial Services Manager available.

At Garscube and Dumfries sites, the most senior manager available will decide, depending on the local situation, and local advice received.

Information Sources

The met office: provides a range of adverse weather warnings, regional forecasts and forecasts for some specific locations and postcodes.

BBC weather: is also a useful source, and can give forecasts for specific locations and postcodes.

Traffic Scotland: provides updates on road conditions

Train service changes can be found at:

You may also have other information sources, which are useful in your particular circumstances.

Local authorities and some individual organisations provide schools’ closures information and day-care facilities’ information for other persons etc.

People and Organisation Development - Updated 21 January 2022

Document Control

Policy Name Inclement/Adverse Weather 
Last Reviewed                        January 2022
Owner Central P&OD - Policy, Engagement & Employee Relations