Difficulty attending work due to train strikes

Difficulty attending work due to train strikes

After discussions between rail companies and unions failed to reach agreement over pay, there are planned rail strikes on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday this week. If they go ahead, which currently seems likely despite last minute talks, it will disrupt the travel plans of millions. Many of those affected will be people travelling to work. Whilst some people may be able to take alternative transport, others will not have this option and simply won’t be able to get to work.


Ultimately if an employee cannot get to work, that is not the employer’s problem and there is no obligation to pay wages for the lost day. Having said that, if they are faced with an employee who is struggling to travel to the office as a result of the strike action, it would be sensible to allow them to work from home if this was previously possible during the pandemic. This will not only avoid other staff having to deal with an increased workload, but will also ease the burden across the country on those rail services which are running, as well as the wider transport network.


An employer cannot force an employee to work from home but if they are able to work from home and choose not to, they will not be entitled to pay unless they have booked a day’s leave.  Likewise an employer can insist that an employee attend the workplace if that is what is required.


After a period of home working during the pandemic, some companies have required staff to return to the office because working from home was not ideal. Allowing an employee to work from home in these circumstances does not change the fact that the situation is not ideal; it is a case of doing the best in circumstances outside of the employee’s and the employer’s control.


With union bosses saying the campaign will continue for “as long as it takes” to reach a deal, further strikes are possible so a clear plan to deal with them is advisable.


If you have any employment law related questions, please contact Trula Brunsdon on 01242250039 or at trula@sherborneslaw.co.uk.



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