Employers struggle with impact of riots

Businesses across the capital and other parts of the UK have been struggling today with damaged premises and employees unable to make it into work, after a third night of rioting.

WarningUpdate: While London was quieter last night, trouble was reported in Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham and other parts of the country in a fourth night of riots.

Employers can find information on dealing with transport issues, damage to business premises and employee misconduct here.

Last night, the London riots, which began in Tottenham on Saturday night, spread across the capital and to other parts of the UK, including Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool.

Bar Huberman, employment law editor at XpertHR, explained that, while crime scenes and damaged property in the affected areas meant that some businesses couldn’t open today, in other areas staff struggled to get to work with transport disruption and safety fears.

“In these circumstances, an employer should consider allowing employees to work flexibly, for example making up the time at another date or working from home, rather than deducting employees’ pay or instigating the disciplinary procedure,” Huberman said.

“If an employer’s business premises are damaged and it cannot open as normal, it could ask employees to perform work outside their regular duties, for example cleaning, depending on the employment contract. If the workplace is shut and the employer sends employees home, they may still need to be paid.”

In the coming days and weeks, some employers may also face the dilemma of how to deal with staff who have been involved in criminal activity during the riots.

According to XpertHR guidance, an employer may be able to discipline an employee who has been involved in or is being investigated for their involvement in the riots, depending on the connection of the crime to the employee’s work.

Employers can find full guidance on how to deal with transport issues, damage to business premises and employee misconduct on XpertHR.

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