Over half of UK employers give paid holiday to workers stranded by volcano ash

More than half of the UK’s top employers are planning to give paid time off to those caught up in the chaos caused by the Icelandic volcano eruption, according to a new survey.

The poll was carried out yesterday by talent management specialist, Ochre House, amongst members of its HR Network, an association of HR directors from over 600 of the UK’s leading employers. 51% of respondents were planning to pay employees for days lost, 27% were intending to count it as part of holiday entitlement and 23% were planning to split the time with employees, paying them for half of the days lost.

The key note seemed to be flexibility and sympathy for employees’ plight. As one HR director in a major construction company put it, “We are taking the view that this is an exceptional situation and asking managers to be flexible in deciding if and how much annual leave will be taken. Some employees can work remotely and if so we’re asking them to do this. We have also had a few new starters who have been stranded and not started in which case we will adjust their start date to when they return.”

“More than four-fifths of organisations we polled had policies on this in place as of Monday,” says the Ochre House Network’s director, Prashanie Dharmadasa, “however most admit that they are having to keep these under review because of the unpredictable nature of the crisis. At the moment the bulk of organisations are proving extremely generous but many are already flagging up that they can’t afford to keep this up indefinitely.”

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