With continued rail strikes scheduled on the 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th of December, and the 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th of January, disruption should be expected by commuters across the country.
Where the strikes fall on weekdays, they could pose problems to employees, as they may not be able to travel to work on a number of days. It is recommended that employers should try to assist employees affected by the strike. If practical, employers could allow their employees to work from home if their transport is not running. If working from home is not an option, employers could allow flexibility around working hours, or perhaps cover the cost of overnight accommodation close to the workplace.
The responsibility of getting to work ultimately lies with the employee. A refusal to attend work could amount to an unauthorised absence, leading to disciplinary action. However, employers should exercise caution in taking such action as this could be considered unreasonable, given that the strikes are beyond an employee’s control.
Since the rail strikes appear to be continuing, the ongoing impact to employers may be greater than originally thought. It is important for employers to give thought to long-term arrangements for occurrences such as rail strikes. Work-from-home arrangements established during the pandemic may need to be revisited and implemented on a short-term or ad hoc basis.
If you think your company would benefit from a review of its work-from-home arrangements policy or would like to introduce a policy for dealing with travel disruptions, please get in touch with the employment team at Glaisyers ETL.