Petrol shortage: What employers need to know

The current petrol shortage has caused havoc for employers and their workforce. Here’s how to handle this particular HR dilemma.

First published on Wednesday, Oct 06, 2021

Last updated on Wednesday, Oct 06, 2021

3 min read

Picture this. It’s Monday and you’ve just made it into work when your phone starts to buzz. It’s a message from one of your employees…

They’ve gone to fill up their tank, but their local garages are bone dry and now they’re not going to be able to make it in for their shift.

What do you do?

Let them have the day off full pay? Ask them to take it off as annual leave? Or see if they can arrange alternative travel?

We asked one of our employment law experts to break down what you should do if you find yourself in this situation…

Our HR expert’s answer:

“There will often be times when an employee is unable to rely on their usual method of transport to work, whether that be a problem with their car or a delayed or cancelled train. If this does happen, it is still the employee’s responsibility to make sure they can attend work, even if they can’t get their hands on any fuel.

So, if one of your employees has been impacted by the current panic buying at petrol stations across the UK, you could suggest alternative ways for them to get to work. Whether that be a bus or train, are they close enough to walk or cycle into work?

And, if an employee can’t get to work, it would be up to your business to agree whether to accept unpaid leave or agree for annual leave to be taken. Otherwise, unfortunately, any absence would be unpaid. So, it is important that your business has a clear absence policy in place.

As a result, if the absence takes an employee over their absence trigger points, it could potentially lead to disciplinary action. Therefore, it is essential to consider the specific circumstances when deciding what action to take before you go down that route…

Suppose an employee manages to attend work via another method of transport but arrives late. In that case, this can also be managed in line with your disciplinary procedures considering the specific circumstances when deciding on appropriate action to take.”

Got a question of your own?

If you have a question about the current fuel shortage and the associated HR issues, speak to one of our friendly legal experts today.

Whether you need advice in an HR crisis or need a quick answer to a question, our advisors are available 24/7 to give you confidential legal advice on any employment law problem you face.

Call BrightAdvice today on 0800 783 2806.

Have a question?

Ask away, we’ve got lightning fast answers for UK business owners and employers powered by qualified experts.

Share this article