The country is in the grip of a big freeze, with a Status Orange Snow-Ice warning coming into effect for many eastern counties this afternoon.

Employers are being urged to put an adverse weather policy in place so staff are clear on whether they should to come to work or stay at home.

Manager of the HR Suite, Caroline McEnery, says whether it comes out of employees’ annual leave is up to individual bosses.

She said: “If for whatever reason you choose not to go into work, then you need to let your employer know as soon as possible, and then once you have done that then, unfortunately, it is up to your employer to decide whether they pay you or not.

“But if the employer makes the decision to close or if the employer decides they don’t feel it is safe for you to come into work or to drive, then they are basically taking the cost.”

Meanwhile, elderly people will find out today how they will be reimbursed if they need to buy extra fuel ahead of the cold weather.

The Department of Social Protection is due to update the National Emergency Coordination Group this morning on the payments that will be available.

It comes after the Minister for Older People Jim Daly yesterday urged people to stock up on fuel now and claim the money back later.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy says there have been previous emergency social welfare schemes to deal with extreme weather events.

Mr Murphy said: “I think it’s very important that people have enough heating in place in their homes and also in places of work so employers have enough to deal with this cold snap over the coming days.

“We’ll make sure that we have clear communication coming out this afternoon as to how we might be able to then reimburse people if they have found that they have an exceptional need to buy that fuel if they haven’t been able to make those payments.”

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