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Summer holiday woes and employees stranded oversees

Whilst the world has post Covid opened for travel, it is taking airlines and airport operators much longer than expected to catch up with the surge in demand.  As we have seen recently over the half term break, many people have been left stranded overseas due to flight cancellations and delays and this looks likely to continue throughout the summer months.  So how do you deal with this issue if your employees are caught up in it and late from returning from holiday leave?

If an employee doesn’t turn up for work as expected it could mean they are absent without leave and therefore not entitled to pay.  The employee could take the time as additional holiday so they don’t miss out on pay (if they have not used all of their holiday entitlement for the year) or they could take it as unpaid leave, as long as both the employer and the employee agree to this. The employee is also unlikely to be able to work productively remotely unless they are properly equipped so employers might want to discourage this option.

Business owners are therefore advised to communicate to all staff what their procedures are in the event that they are caught up in travel disruption and the responsibilities of the employee, which could include calling or emailing with details about any activities, meetings or events they are missing to allow for other employees to be deployed to take their place.

In addition to the options of paid and unpaid leave a business could consider offering employees the opportunity to make up the time lost over the following weeks.

If the employer is approaching a crucial time and it is concerned about the absence of employees then it could also consider warning against foreign travel and the consequences for the employee if they go against this advice.

It is worth noting that employees are likely to feel stressed and anxious if they find themselves in this situation, but following well-documented procedures and taking a fair and equal approach is essential.


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