Staff have given Torbay Council's snow pay policy a frosty reception
Council workers in Torbay have been told they cannot be given time off with pay during the snowy and icy weather.
The local authority said staff must take annual leave, work flexible hours, work from home or make up time owed if they cannot get in.
The e-mail, which was sent to all Torbay Council's employees on Tuesday, was signed by "Human Resources".
But some workers have said having to choose between losing a day's pay or risking a hazardous journey was unfair.
One council employee, who did not want to be named, told BBC News the issue had caused "considerable resentment".
'Impossible and unrealistic'
"If you live in a rural countryside area with steep hills and ice on the roads, you can't get out and if public transport's off, you can't be expected to drive in," he said.
"If you know when you get home you might not be able to get back to work again, are they expecting you to book into a hotel or bed and breakfast?
"It's impossible and unrealistic, particularly in this day and age when most parents have to work."
But the council has insisted its policy was both "fair and consistent with other employers".
Deputy Chief Executive Caroline Taylor said there was a lot of flexibility for staff, but the council had a duty to continue to provide essential services.
"The majority of staff did continue to work, but if people choose to lose a day's pay rather than take holiday or make up time, that's their individual choice," Ms Taylor told BBC News.
"Ultimately the council is providing a range of services and it has to balance being a fair and consistent employer with individual circumstances."
Ms Taylor said staff who felt "aggrieved" by the council's policy, could take it up with either their line manager or human resources.
A spokesman from the union Unite said although the council was not legally-bound to pay staff who did not make it in to work, it would prefer employers to act with "common sense" in exceptional situations.