SNOW days are typically a cause of celebration for children, who revel in the fact they can amuse themselves in the white stuff while missing out on schoolwork.  

But school closures can cause havoc for working parents without childcare. So can you get time off to look after them and will you get paid? Here's what you need to know.

As Brits brace for Storm Barra, many have been left questioning their rights in case they need to take last-minute time off work to care for their kids.

Sometimes snow makes the journey to school dangerous or downright impossible, leaving some people unable to commute.

When the country becomes blanketed in snow, schools sometimes have to close when temperatures plummet if there are not enough staff, if the site is unsafe, or if kids can't travel safely.

Can you take time off work if your child's school is closed due to snow?

Thankfully, the answer is yes.

You are entitled to take reasonable time off work to deal with an unexpected problem or emergency.

This is sometimes known as "dependant leave", according to Citizens Advice.

Your employer can't refuse dependent leave if you have no other option.

You also won't face disciplinary action or lose your job.

How do you find out if your child’s school is closed?

THE main reason a school will close in bad weather is because the teachers may struggle to get in.

That means staff may not be there to pick up the phone to tell you if a school is closed.

You can visit to find out if a school is closed in England and Wales.

If you live in Scotland than you can visit

For Northern Ireland, see for a full list of closed schools.

Many employers are flexible with staff who have to care for their children due to unexpected circumstances, such as adverse weather conditions.

If your child is under the age of 18, then you also have other rights to time off.

This is known as "parental leave" – but you must have worked for your employer for at least a year before you can take this leave.

You can take up to 18 weeks off for parental leave before your child turns 18, but your employer can limit this to four weeks off per year.

Will you get paid for this time off?

In both dependant and parental leave cases you won't be paid for your time off, unless your contract of employment says so.

You may be able to negotiate taking holiday with your employer if you'd still like to get paid and are entitled to paid holiday but this will be at their discretion.

But crucially, you don’t have to make the missed time up later on.

Can you get a day off work due to the snow if you don't have a child?

Unfortunately, there is no automatic legal right to be paid if you miss work due to snow.

Employers are entitled to regard your absence as unauthorised, even if it is due to weather circumstances way out of your control.

Some employers may ask you to work from home if you're genuinely unable to get in.

If you can't make it into work then your boss may ask you to take unpaid leave or use up some of your holiday allowance.

If your workplace is closed because of disruption and you don't usually work from home, employers can’t usually deduct your pay.



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Check your employment contract and know your rights before speaking to your employer.

A reasonable boss will be flexible, particularly if you've given them plenty of notice and made every effort to get there.

For more advice visit the Citizens Advice website.

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