Snow and black ice - late for work, do I still get wages?

Snow and black ice

There is currently snow chaos in Leipzig and the surrounding area. The streets have only been cleared step by step, entire motorways have come to a standstill and local traffic has been largely stopped. It can happen that this sudden onset of winter makes the way to work difficult or even impossible. But are employees allowed to stay away from work if it is impossible to arrive at work on time or at all due to the weather?

Road risk

Basically, the so-called road risk is borne by the employees alone. So you have to make sure that you get to work on time - regardless of whether local traffic is on strike or bad weather makes the roads impassable. The employee should organize his commute with foresight and, if necessary, leave for work earlier. This is how the legislature sees it.

§ 616 BGB Temporary prevention

But there is also an obligation to pay without any consideration from the employee.

A prerequisite for such a claim to “wages without work” according to § 616 BGB is a so-called personal reason. This can be, for example, a required doctor's visit, an appointment with an authority or an important family event. It must always be an obstacle that lies solely in the person of the employee. If other reasons led to the loss of work, i.e. those that could affect everyone, there is no entitlement to wages according to § 616 BGB for this time. Employees who arrive late due to icy roads or snow chaos must therefore accept a wage cut, even if they cannot influence the weather conditions.

An employee who comes to work late by public transport can also expect wage cuts. It therefore does not depend on whether the employee is responsible for the delay.

It is different when schools and daycare centers are also closed as a result of the snow. If the snow masses prevent small children from being looked after in kindergarten or school and no other carer is possible, the parents are allowed to stay away from work with continued payment of wages. There is only an exception if Section 616 of the German Civil Code (BGB) has been excluded from the employment contract.

Regulation in employment contract, works agreement or collective bargaining agreement

The employee's entitlement to continued remuneration can, however, be extended or restricted in individual contracts, company agreements or collective agreements. These regulations can deviate from the legal regulations and can secure the employee's wages even in snow chaos. So it's worth checking.

Operational disruptions

The legal situation is not always satisfactory. Is a delay caused by someone through no fault of your own Traffic accident or if a car breaks down, the employee retains his or her right to remuneration. If, on the other hand, he has to drive particularly slowly because of snow or black ice, there is no personal reason for the loss of work and he must expect wage cuts.

But the reverse also applies: Does massive snowfall or another natural event lead to operational disruptions, e.g. B. Danger of collapse due to excessive snow masses on the roof of the company building or heating or power failure, the employee retains his entitlement to remuneration even if he does not or cannot perform his work.

Consequences of being late or not showing up

If the employee comes to work late or not at all due to bad weather conditions, the absence must be made up or the wage payment can be reduced. Just like that cancel However, the employer is not allowed to do so. It is only important that the person concerned can make credible that they have tried everything to show up at work on time. In any case, the employer must be informed in good time.

Kathrin Roller

Lawyer for labor law in Leipzig

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