The College recognises that there will be occassions where adverse weather conditions will occur and cause disruption to travel services (typically bus, rail and tube) which will affect staff members normal commute into work through increased jounry times, adjusted travel options and/or travelling to work at different times. The College also recognises that the consequences imposed on staff members adjusting their travel will affect not only their normal work duties but also attaining a work-life balance.

The College wishes to support staff members during times of adverse weather conditions and offer flexiblity to enable staff to work around these circumstances. This will be subject to department/division approval and still ensuring the operational requirements are achieved. Below is some guidance for staff and line managers to refer to when these instances occur and to help provide support.

Guidance for staff and managers

What will happen to normal working arrangements?

All staff are expected to make every reasonable effort to present themselves for work during adverse weather conditions. The staff member is responsibile for seeking out alternative journey options to get to work if their usual journey route is altered, cancelled or heavily delayed as a result of the weather. Where the weather warnings have been broadcast in advance (via the news and weather reports), staff will also be expected to plan alternative travel options in advance in anticipation of the disruption.

It is not deemed unreasonable for staff to walk up to an hour in each direction whereby no reasonable travel options are available (except for staff who have a disability or any other medical condition where doing so would pose a risk to their health).

Staff can also discuss different working arrangements in advance where there is suspected disruption (and on the day itself) with approval from their line managers and/or Heads of Departments/Divisions. This will be at the line managers discretion whilst also ensuring operational output is maintained and all staff within their division are treated fairly with regards to flexiblity requsts. Some suggested examples could include altering start/finish times, working from home and taking leave (whether paid or unpaid).

What is the procedure for cancelled events?

In the event you are unable to come to work for the full day (if adjusting your hours), are taking leave or you have arranged with your line manager to work from home during periods of adverse weather conditions, please communicate this as early as possible to your fellow colleagues, other staff and students if applicable particularly if this involves cancelled teaching, lectures, PhD supervision, meetings, training workshops, conferences and other events that you are responsible for.

Similarly, if you are one of the attendees to a scheduled meeting, conference or event and are unable to make it into work, please also communicate this as early as is possible to the event organiser to make them aware of your absence.

What is the procedure for lone workers?

Staff members should ensure they do not unintentionally find themselves lone working in the event there are fewer staff in as a result of the disruption. Further information on lone working can be found here.

Should I drive to College in the event of disruption?

Members of staff who do not already hold parking permits are advised not to drive to College. Staff who do hold parking permits and drive to College should check with the Estates Operations team if there are going to be any changes to regular parking with complying to safety regulations.

What if I have dependants/other caring responsibilities?

Staff who identify as carers for young dependants or adults, should consult with their line manager on other options for working (or if they require any adjustments to be made during the disruption). Staff and line managers can discuss the other types of leave available in the Special Leave policy.

Where can I find other information or support?

The College will always intend to continue operating as normal during travel disruption and/or adverse weather conditions. If any circumstances change, further updates and advice can be found on the Alerts page.

You can also contact HR if you have any queries or further concerns.

Full policy text

Adverse weather - full policy (accessible)

Adverse Weather Conditions

If adverse weather conditions occur which affects tube, bus or rail services, Heads of Department/ Divisions will need to give guidance to staff regarding attendance at work. The following guidance is offered.

1.      Each member of staff is expected to make every reasonable effort to present him/herself for work. Where, due to the adverse weather conditions, public transport is affected or driving becomes dangerous, a walk of up to one hour in each direction* (approximately four miles) is not considered unreasonable, for those able to do so, and providing that the pavements are in a safe condition for walking.,

*in line with Civil Service guidelines.

 2.      Working arrangements may be altered for the period, if prior [including on the day] approval is obtained from the Head of Department/Division or manager.  Whilst discretion may be used, the following alternatives are suggested as possibilities:

  • early or late start and finish times, to avoid peak travel times or to co-ordinate with others sharing travel arrangements; 
  • taking leave (paid or unpaid), provided that this is acceptable in terms of the needs of the Department/Division; 
  • redistributing hours of work over fewer but longer days, provided that this is acceptable in terms of the needs of the Department/Division;
  •  taking work home or working from home. 

 3.      If teaching or other events are cancelled, early communication to students and staff is essential to prevent unnecessary journeys.

 4.      Those members of staff who normally travel by car should be asked to consider giving lifts to colleagues.

 5.      Those members of staff who do not hold parking permits should not bring cars to the College. Parking regulations have to be strictly enforced to comply with safety and fire regulations.

6.     To avoid difficulty in the event that supplies are disrupted, please ensure that stocks of consumables are adequate. It is advisable to confirm business continuity plans with suppliers now for the delivery of gases and other high impact consumables.

7.      Where staff need to care for dependants during working hours as a result of the adverse weather conditions (for example a child’s school is closed), please see the Family Emergency Leave policy.

In the event of adverse weather, Imperial intends to continue operating as normal.  Any updates will be posted to the College’s Alerts webpage.

Staff and line managers are expected to approach these discussions in line with the Imperial Values and Behaviours. The College’s Values are at the very centre of our work and guide our behaviour as a community, across all levels of the College. This policy aims to protect and promote our Values of Respect, Collaboration, Excellence, Integrity and Innovation.

Please address any queries to the HR Staff Hub.

(Published November 2010, updated December 2021)