Sophie Pelham in our employment team addresses business concerns surrounding travel disruption during the Olympics.
Lateness or absence due to travel disruption may occur during the Olympics. Employees may also use travel disruption as an excuse for lateness or absence. It is therefore wise to put in place a travel disruption policy to cover such incidences. This will ensure that employees are aware of the rules before a disciplinary situation arises. The policy should cover notification requirements if lateness occurs. If employees are required to provide evidence of the delay, this may make them less likely to use travel disruption as an excuse, as will strictly requiring them to make up the time. Employees can be asked to leave extra time for their journeys and/or consider taking an alternative route.
Employees who do not make reasonable efforts to attend work or who fail to follow notification requirements can be subject to disciplinary proceedings for misconduct. However, ensure that the rules are effectively communicated, that a thorough investigation and consideration of the circumstances has taken place, and that incidences are treated consistently.
If an employee’s route to work is likely to be subject to disruption, consider allowing the employee to work from home or at another office. If an employee is able and willing to work, but due to travel disruption, cannot attend the office; without a relevant contractual provision, it is unlikely that an employer could refuse to pay the employee, unless it is proven that the lateness or absence was not genuine.
One solution may be to obtain employees’ agreement in writing that, in return for employer flexibility during the Olympics, such as allowing time off to watch events, and amended working hours to avoid peak travel times, they agree that any other absence due to travel disruption will be unpaid. The exact terms of such an agreement would need to be carefully considered. This at least allows the employer to plan the days when employees will be absent. For further information on this or any other employment issue contact Sophie on 020 8971 1024 or email firstname.lastname@example.org