Landscaping, at times, is reliant on the weather conditions. As a company, we are often asked what we have in place when it’s impossible to work on site due to poor or unsuitable weather conditions.
In the past, we created a formal agreement within our employment contracts and company handbook that if we encountered conditions when staff couldn’t work on site, or it was potentially dangerous, that we would make the call to lay them off. In the agreement, we guarantee to pay them an amount per day which must be no less than £29 per day legally, and this is the amount your employees can access as statutory lay-off pay, if you prefer to claim it back. The statutory amount is only accessible for any five days in a three-month period, and for part time workers it is worked out proportionally.
To qualify for statutory lay-off pay, the employee must have been employed continuously for one month, be available for work and not refuse any reasonable alternative work that you can provide.
From the employee point of view, be conscious that they lose potential pay through no fault of their own, so an offer of weekend work in lieu for any that want to make up any losses could be an option for an employer.
We often keep some non-priority projects or tidying up, cleaning tools and maintaining equipment in our yard as something that can be done if we ever can’t work on site, although as we have grown the number of site staff, it’s not always feasible to find enough work for everyone at short notice. The feasibility of this very much depends on how many site staff you have. Now we have the Landscape Academy, our plan for any lay-off days is to bring the team in to focus on any required training, utilising the time to upskill, do team-building or problem solving. You can never have too much training!
Other companies I’ve spoken to in the past have different approaches, one being a claw back policy – staff are fully paid for any adverse weather days and the company agrees to claw back any associated cost if poor performance occurs over the course of the next few months. A good way to keep standards consistent, but needs careful planning and open monitoring.
Another approach is to factor in an amount of adverse weather days into your costings, so that when you work out a daily rate for your team, the down days are already potentially covered. If you’ve done your figures correctly and kept them well monitored, you should have the cash flow to pay the staff in full, although this will depend on how tight your cash flow is. Consider that the down days may well be all in the same month on consecutive days, so will have an effect on that month’s flow.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have any wording approved by a HR consultant to ensure you are adhering to current legislation and, more importantly, have communicated your policy to your employees.
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We are the only London Stone partner in the North of the UK, providing their products on display and the same knowledgeable and friendly customer service you expect from this forward thinking landscaping products company.
Gold Partner status meaning we are approved designers and installers of RENSON® canopies
The Horticultural Trade Association provides a vital contact for identifying and dealing with key garden industry issues and opportunities, and represents industry views to Government and is its voice in the media.
We are members of the Association of Professional Landscapers and are vetted annually to keep up to date with legislation and best practice
Trustmark is the only government endorsed scheme for almost all trades in and around the home
All our operatives are ROLO trained which was introduced to raise the standards of Health and Safety and reduce the risks and accidents throughout the industry
We are accredited with Construction Health and Safety who as an organisation, help businesses and organisations manage their Health and Safety risks and safeguard their reputation
We are members of BALI, the UK’s trade association for the landscaping sector who have a rigorous vetting procedure
We are registered with Constructionline – the UKs largest register of contractors, who vet all members to ensure they are qualified, and standards are uncompromised
Urban Landscape Design Ltd, Unit 7d, Barrowmore Enterprise Estate, Great Barrow, Chester CH3 7JA
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