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Advice Column: Snow! What happens if I cannot get to work?

1st February 2019

Heavy snowfall has shut down my 8-year-old’s school but I need to get to my job at the shop I am employed by. I am worried if I take the day off my boss will sack me or dock my wages. What can I do?

It’s important to know that if your child’s school is closed, you’re entitled to take time off to make sure they’re looked after.

Employees who care for young children have the right to what’s known as Dependant Leave, which covers emergencies such as your child’s school being closed.

Dependant Leave gives you a “reasonable amount” of time off work to deal with an emergency relating to your child.

Speak to your manager as soon as possible. Although an employer can’t refuse to let you take Dependant Leave, they might be worried about the effect on the business. 

Make it clear you have no option, that you will only take the necessary time and that you will keep in touch.

Check your workplace policy - different employers have different policies. They may allow you to take paid time off, annual leave or to make up the hours later.

If this doesn’t cover you, request Dependant Leave. You are entitled to this, so if they try to discipline or fire you, you can get support from Citizens Advice.