HR & Management

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Tube strikes: Should you pay for no-shows?

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Many of you will pay employees if you’re satisfied that they genuinely couldn’t get into work without considerable delay and an excessively long journey. Others of you will try to organise car-shares or arrange for taxis to collect key employees.

But can you refuse to pay those that don’t make it into work or make them take it as annual leave?

The answer is yes.

If employees cannot get into work, the general principle is that they do not receive pay for those days.

Employers could treat staff on a case-by-case basis but if you choose to do so, beware of any potential claims of discrimination or less favourable treatment. In other words, don’t pay all full-time staff that couldn’t make it in to work, but withhold pay from your part-time staff. It’s far better to treat all employees in the same way.

Here are some tips for dealing with a tube strike:

* Make sure that your key employees have the ability to work from home.

* You need a contingency plan in place to ensure that your business can function if a large number of your staff can’t make it in.

* Have clear policies in place about whether you will pay employees who cannot make it to work because of the situation and be clear in what circumstances payment will or will not be made.

* Make sure that you have reporting requirements in place so staff must notify you promptly if they find the journey proves to be too long after they’ve started out.

* Ask employees to plan alternative ways to commute, let you know where they are and their anticipated arrival time.  Alternatively, they should inform you well in advance if they think it’s too difficult for them to come in.

Sue Evans is a partner at Lester Aldridge LLP

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