Snow leave

I phoned work today, couldnt make it off my drive, never mind out of my street… was asked by my manager - would I be taking annual leave, flexi or schedule another day… I do have about 3 days annual leave left, which has to last me until April, but with the kids school hols, inset days, it wont be long and there’ll be none left. Taking flexi and to schedule another day to work though, gonna be difficult, I work Monday, Tues and Weds and with hosp appointments and the fatigue … cant think of it. Anyone know what rights you have with disabilities and travelling to work in bad weather?? Any bodies, views, help would be great… thanx once again x

I would imagine it differs from company to company. I work for the MoD and our rules state that if you cannot drive or get public transport in bad weather and you live within 3 miles from your place of work you are expectd to walk. But - only if you do not have any other implications that may hinder this (poor health etc). They are our big rules across the civil service but on a more local level - my line manager is very nice nad either convinently forgets about the whole thing, or gives me special paid leave so it does not come off my personal leave entitlement.

I would fight tooth and nail against taking your own leave, through the DDA at them.xx

To be honest, I think they are being fairly reasonable by offering the option of annual leave, flexi or making up the day.

Our weather isn’t too bad at the moment but I know that when the weather was bad last year and the year before, a number of colleagues were unable to make it to work because they had to travel. They either took it as annual leave or unpaid. I work in the private sector.

I don’t think there is anything re: snow days for someone with a disability specifically.

Hi,

Actual policies will differ from place to place. I worked in a place with similar rules to Hayley in that you were expected to walk if you lived within 3 miles.

For a person with MS however those policies become meaningless and would put you at a disadvantage to a non-disabled colleague. Your workplace should make “reasonable adjustments” to level the playing field. It would not be reasonable to expect a disabled person to walk 3 miles and then to impose a financial penalty (loss of leave etc) when they cannot.

You are not the first person to post about travel difficulties during the bad weather and I would advise everyone to get these things sorted out ASAP. You need to meet with HR to hammer out what you need and to get them set out in writing so that your immediate line managers cannot impose sanctions.

If you have not told work about your MS then it will be hard to initiate this discussion but if you have a dx of MS you are covered by the Equalities Act and your employer is obliged to consider your needs(Not necessarily to acquiesce to them but they have to give a good reason why changes can’t be made for you)

Jane

Thanx all for ur posts, was told when I rang in today and said couldnt get in due to snow and ice and stated if I did have accident, it would be difficult to walk etc… and she said well if anyone had an accident and broke a leg, then they would be in the same boat… I think different as its not a broken leg, its a disability… its not just my legs…

Hi I think if snowy weather was disadvantaging you at work I.e. you took the bus to work and the buses didnt run in bad weather and you couldn’t walk to work because you have ms then you might have a good case, after all the ms would be putting you at a disadvantage compared to anyone else. Anyone else could walk and you couldn’t. But you couldn’t get out your driveway , did your ms disadvantage there, I mean I would find it hard to walk around the car scraping off snow and ice so I just sit in the car with the heating on until all the snow melts and falls off. It takes a bit longer but I just allow time for it. Tbh, I think your ms didn’t really put you at a disadvantage compared to anyone else and I’m not sure that you would have a case to not take leave or make up time compared to anyone else. However, it is quite harsh ,not just for you but for everyone, especially if its just one day and it doesn’t happen often. I don’t know what you do but would it be possible to maybe have a meeting and discuss how this affects you and see if anything could be put in place to stop you making up time or taking a days holiday, could you work from home on snowy days. Big companies are very health and safety conscious these days, you could try telling them that you really do have safety issues relating to your ms in this weather. If you want to get anywhere with them try not to fall out with them over this and you might just get somewhere. Cheryl:-)

In response to ur post, annonymous Cheryl, I do actually sit in the car and leave it to run and let the snow melt, but I couldnt get off the drive because of the snow on the drive, cant really heat the driveway up! It is a very steep drive and the snow has been here for 5 days now, not thawing…so looking forward to the rain at the weekend, when I can venture out, maybe will try the bus then, Oh can’t, havent got any where I live… its lovely looking at the mountains, but sometimes living here is a disadvantage, especially with the MS. If MS is not a disadvantage, dont know what is!!

I just thought that I would add a bit of clarification with regards to the Equalities Act.

The act requires employers to make reasonable adjustments to a policy that would put a disabled employee at a disadvantage. The example that I gave before is one such policy. An employer might expect employees to walk or use public transport when the weather was poor. This is not fair to a disabled person who might not have the physical ability to use the bus. I do not take my wheelchair out in the snow – it’s not safe – I would hope that my employer, if I had one, would appreciate that and make allowances.

I would say that a blocked drive was also an MS problem. A healthy person could dig out but someone with poor balance and fatigue problems simply couldn’t. However if your difficulty getting to work would apply equally to all employees like living in a remote area with no buses then the Equality Act does not come into play. I once lived 50 miles from my work and was late due to fog. My boss gave me a withering look and pointed out (not without merit) that it was my choice to live so far away and therefore my responsibility not his – I suppose that’s also true if you live in the back of beyond where there are no buses.

In short if MS is a factor in your inability to get to work in the snow and ice then perhaps the Equalities Act will come to your aid, otherwise you are at the mercy of your employer’s policies.

Hi, don’t know why I came across as anon, I didn’t mean to. It sounds like clearing your driveway is a problem, I sympathise,I certainly couldn’t do it. But it also sounds like you are quite remote which is nothing really to do with your ms , you just happen to live in a remote place as others do too by the sounds of things. I don’t really know if you would have a case or not regarding your ms tbh, and I’m not sure how others would feel if they had to make up the day and you didn’t, if you are all as remote as each other. Are your management quite understanding? I think you should arrange a meeting and explain your difficulties and concerns, the fact that you have children and need to accommodate them and ms and need your days off because you suffer fatigue and have a lot of hospital appointments. I would have thought that a sympathetic manager should really try to work something out for you, if not for this day , at least for the future. Did you just miss one day off work because it was really bad snow and managed in on your other days? Cheryl:-)

I also work in the public sector and they have pretty strict rules about weather policies. As we are on flexi time we have to either take leave or flexi time which can be very hard especially when the car needs digging out. I had a discussion with HR and OH about it and eventually was allowed to get a lift in a works van which for admin staff if usually not allowed but it is horrible knowing you are having to get someone else to come and get you but I have no choice its either that or use leave, flexi or worse pay. I asked about home working for a short period which I know is possible but they said no however this might be an option for you it depends on what you do, its worth a try

Good luck

Claire

Home working would be great, but due to data protection in my job, wouldnt be allowed… Will go in Monday and try and reach an amicable agreement with myself and my manager… crossing my fingers, 3 days leave still in tact or gone??? Wait and see… But thanks again peeps as always x G