Reports of fuel shortages across the country continue to dominate the news and are now greatly affecting people’s lives. We have received a number of calls about this issue, in particular with regard to transport to and from work.
It came after several petrol stations were forced to close over supply problems.
Since then, more and more petrol stations have had to close their petrol pumps because there have not had enough deliveries to meet the demand of their customers due to panic buying.
We have been dealing with several enquiries from both employees and employers regarding this.
Do I have to go to work if I run out of fuel and can I be sacked if don’t?
The short answer is yes, you can get dismissed for failing to attend work as ultimately it is your responsibility not your employers to ensure that you can attend the workplace.
However, If you are struggling to get to your workplace, there are some practical tips that we can give you which will hopefully avoid the worst:
- Keep in touch with your employer and keep them updated. A failure to communicate effectively is going to make them more likely to view it as an unauthorised absence;
- As above, it is not your employers responsibility to ensure you are able to attend work, the responsibility is yours so if you are unable to attend then make sure that you make them aware that you are sorry;
- Ensure that you explore every alternative option and be prepared to evidence it to your employer if needed;
- Consider requesting to use annual leave or unpaid leave;
- Ask your employer if they have any options or solutions; and
- Discuss any options for remote working that may be available to you in the short term.
Can I start a grievance if I am unable to attend work and I am disciplined?
Every employee has a right to raise a grievance, however, a grievance regarding this is unlikely to be upheld by an employer. As above, it is the employee’s responsibility to attend work. Further to that, if alternative modes of transport are available then as an employee you would not be in a strong position unless there was an argument for discrimination.
If I have to use alternative methods of transport is my employer liable to pay any additional travel costs?
Any employers who do make the decision to cover any additional travel costs will largely be doing so to maintain goodwill rather than because of any legal obligation.
What if I have to travel by car to visit clients as part of my role?
The position on this may be different for employees who need to drive between clients for work as part of their working day.
In this scenario, the employer is much more involved and may not be able to simply ask an employee to use alternative forms of transport and expect them to accept any extra cost.
We would generally advise that it is likely that the employer would need to cover any additional costs in this situation although we would need to look at the individual circumstances to confirm that.
It’s important to communicate with employees clearly on this front so they understand the parameters.
How do I dismiss an employee who fails to show up for work without good reason?
It’s important in the first instance not to jump to conclusions and to investigate any incident thoroughly before deciding upon disciplinary action.
Each situation should be treated individually, and the merits of each case should determine whether or not there is a case for a disciplinary.
The most important thing to remember when undertaking a disciplinary is to follow a robust process. https://bhayanilaw.co.uk/employment-advice-for-business/disciplinary-and-grievance-procedures/
Hopefully this will just be a short-lived issue and our lives will get back to normal soon and we will not have to consider these issues any more. In the meantime, if you do need any support whether as an employee unsure of their position or an employer unsure how to manage a situation, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0114 3032300 or email us on [email protected] where we will advise you of any support we are able to provide.