Although Quebecers experience very cold and snowy winters, there are no laws in place that govern coming to work on stormy days.
Although more employees now have the opportunity to occasionally work from home, many workers must still, however, show up on site. For some companies, it’s better for employees to stay home rather than running the risk of having an accident or getting into work late and exhausted because of traffic. For others, the priority remains the work being done.
In most cases, employers are tolerant of delays and absences on heavy snow days. This is also the attitude Florent Francoeur, president and CEO of the Institute of Chartered Human Resources Advisors, recommended in a 2013 press release. “To demonstrate understanding and flexibility during snowstorms is extremely beneficial to the work environment,” he said. “This flexibility also reflects on the employer’s concern for the health and safety of workers.”
Special snowstorm workdays
Agreeing on a policy will help employees comply with the employer's expectations on snowy days and preserve harmony within the team. Taking such precautions is especially important for companies that employ many foreigners or newcomers unaccustomed to the Quebec climate.
The ideal is to give simple instructions, which employees can refer to when needed. You can specify the number of inches of snow that need to fall before the issue of non-attendance at the office can be brought up, who to contact when choosing to stay at home or the preferred means of communication to stay informed: email, phone number to contact, the intranet section to consult or the company’s Facebook page.
Some companies have even set up plans to deal with all of Mother Nature’s moods. Last December, an article published in La Presse quoted the example of The National Bank, which has adopted a set of measures to be taken in case of major weather events. This procedure includes a meeting of a crisis unit which provides service to customers, a communication plan to inform customers of branch closures and a possible transfer of operations to the Toronto offices. The National Bank also plans to have employees work from home to avoid further business paralysis.