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UK — Employees penalised for ash cloud delays

21 May 2010

43% of employees, affected by the ash cloud travel restrictions, saw their pay docked or their annual leave entitlement diminish last month, according to a survey commissioned by recruiters, Badenoch & Clark.

24% of employers allowed their staff to work remotely, whilst 32% were generous enough to allow staff to take the time as additional leave.


The Icelandic ash cloud caused widespread chaos, with hundreds of flights across Europe cancelled. With experts warning the volcano could continue to erupt for as long as a two year period, both employees and employers are left in limbo on how to deal with travel delays and the subsequent absenteeism from work.

Andy Powell, Director at Badenoch & Clark, commented "with no end in sight on potential travel restrictions due to the ash cloud, people are left feeling as if they're taking a gamble when embarking on their summer holidays and employers are put in an awkward situation."

"Employers cannot be expected to give out additional paid leave because of acts of God (force majeure). However, it is important for employers to set a standard policy on this, so that everyone understands the consequences of any delays returning to work."

"While remote working is a good solution in some cases, for many people it will not be a viable option. As such, although ensuring you are contactable by mobile or smart phone where possible is a sensible precaution, both employers and employees need to understand that the risk of disruption should be shared."

 

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