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Should Companies Allow Time Off for Severe Weather?

Should Companies Allow Time Off for Severe Weather?

As someone born and raised in Michigan, I can confidently say that I’ve seen virtually every type of weather condition imaginable. And despite the constant pendulum from deep freeze temps to scorching heat; employees are still expected to promptly show up to their jobs everyday ready to work. A pretty ludicrous expectation in our opinion. Anyway, wouldn’t it be great if companies offered time off for severe weather?

In the past week the Midwest and Eastern states were swept with a blanket of frigid cold as temperatures in many places dropped as low as -40°F. Michigan, in particular, was ranked as number 2 in thrillist.com‘s states with the most miserable winters (although I’m sure many of us Michiganders would petition for that number one spot). With piles of snow and icy roads, the winter season weather conditions can quite frankly be hazardous-or even deadly! So, again we ask: should companies offer time off for severe weather?

Here are some reasons why we would support an initiative for companies offering this time off:

  • School Closures
  • If you have a child then you may simply drop your kid(s) off at school and pick them up when you get off work. However, during snow days (or other severe weather) school districts wisely elect to shutdown in order to preserve the safety of the students and staff. As great as that maybe from a child’s perspective, as a parent you may not have someone readily available to watch your child while you’re at work. By offering severe weather days parents will have the ability to care for their children.
  • Emphasize Safety
  • As an employer the safety of your employees should be of the upmost importance. Even though safety is a common concern when enployees are actually on the premise; it should of some interest when workers are putting their lives on the line to travel in tumultuous situations. The simple act of allowing employees to stay home will show that the company values it’s employees safety over profits-which ironically yields greater dividends in the long run.
  • Every Situation is Different!
  • Some employees live in areas where the roads are not well plowed and/or salted-others may not. Some employees have cars that are safely protected in garages or car ports-others may not. The point is some of your employees may face a greater burden of simply getting ready to brave the elements. From weakened/dead car batteries to disabilities exacerbated by the rigid conditions, severe weather days will allow employees the time to prepare for the challenging forecast.

In a 2018 Detroit Free Press article, Michigan was ranked 6th as the most dangerous state for snow driving. The same article mentions that in 2016 Michigan had the highest number of snow crashes which resulted in 72 fatalities.

Although hard working team-player employees that will do anything for the company is extremely valuable-it’s pretty unfair to ask them to potentially risk their lives driving in severe weather conditions. Employee safety should always be at the forefront of decision making and considering the dangers of driving in bad weather; it should not be unreasonable to offer employees the option to stay/work from home.


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