Volcanic ash disruption cost pay or holiday for nearly half of affected staff

More than four in 10 UK employees who couldn’t get back to work because of the Icelandic ash cloud had their pay docked or lost holiday entitlement, research has revealed.

In a survey of 1,000 workers by recruitment company Badenoch & Clark, 407 said they were directly affected by the disruption. Of this group, 43% were docked pay or lost holiday entitlement. A further third were given extra holiday, while a quarter (24%) were allowed to work remotely.

With no end in sight on potential travel restrictions due to the ash cloud, employees may be left feeling as if they are “taking a gamble” when embarking on their summer holidays while employers are put in an awkward situation, according to Andy Powell, director at Badenoch & Clark.

“Employers cannot be expected to give out additional paid leave because of acts of God; however, it is important for employers to set a standard policy on this, so that everyone understands the consequences of any delays returning to work,” he said.

Remote working is a good solution in some cases, but for many staff it will not be a viable option, Powell warned. “As such, although ensuring you are contactable by mobile or smart phone where possible is a sensible precaution, both employers and employees need to understand that the risk of disruption should be shared,” he said.

While employers have no legal obligation to pay staff who cannot get in to work, supermarket chain Asda announced it was paying employees who were stranded abroad.

XpertHR has produced a seven-point guide for employers on what they should be doing when staff are stranded.

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