Snow business

6 January 2010
It’s been snowy in the UK (cue chaos). Haven’t you heard?! It caused pandemonium in February last year, disorder in December and now it’s back: snow, ice, slush, a shortage of grit supply and problems with rain “washing away the grit” – which doubtless cost the UK thousands last year. Time and again we seem ill-prepared and unable to cope, even when we know it’s coming and despite it having happened before (I mean, it’s not as if we have an otherwise sizzling climate). The Forum of Private Business expects this next bout of bad weather will prompt employee absenteeism, which could cost the economy upwards of £230 million. Not a great way to start a year that many hope will see the turning of the economic tide. Apparently the calculation was made using information including the daily GDP figure, anticipated vehicle breakdown levels from the AA, average salaries and official data reflecting an expected fall in retail sales. “Losing key staff because of the weather, even for just a day, is very damaging,” said the FPB’s research manager, Tom Parry. “It is important employers put in place contingency plans for these occasions and that these plans comply with employment law. For example, home working might be seen as a solution – obviously not for manufacturers and retailers – but business owners should be aware it is their responsibility to ensure employees’ houses meet health and safety standards.” I wrote this blog yesterday and took a laptop home with me, so that’s the initial contingency bit – but if I don’t make it into the office today, does my home comply with the law…?
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