A number of petrol stations across the UK have temporarily closed due to issues with transporting fuel. There is an ongoing shortage of HGV drivers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the effects of Brexit which has led to a shortage of petrol and diesel at some of BP’s and Ess’s stations.
The Government continues to insist that there is no fuel shortage in the UK however panic buying has worsened the situation – leading to many stations to either run out of fuel or to introduce a £30-per-car limit.
The result of panic buying has caused increased volumes of traffic and many people unable to travel to work as they cannot source fuel. The scale of the crisis has drove the government to involve the military – putting 150 tanker drivers on standby, ready to deliver fuel to stations that are struggling.
Due to this the price of fuel has increased and apparently pump prices are now the highest they have been since September 2013.
But what does the crisis mean for employers whose staff cannot travel to work due to having no fuel? Read further as we explore the options available to you.
What can employers do if their employees can’t get to work amid the fuel crisis?
For workers who do not need to travel for their job, getting to work is their own responsibility, therefore the inability to attend work in the current fuel crisis can in theory be a disciplinary matter. However, we recommend taking a pragmatic approach instead as most employers would not discipline someone for something outside of their control.
For employees who can’t commute to work, we are advising employers to consult with their staff and find out if there are alternative methods of travel available. If there are, for example if public transport is still an option, employees should look at these methods before considering any others. Any staff member who does have another way to travel to work that they are not making you aware of, this can result in disciplinary action.
If your staff are unable to find any other alternative way to travel to work, we advise employers to discuss either having their staff work from home if possible or come to an agreement to take unpaid leave.
For those who are required to travel for work and are unable to carry out their duties due to having no fuel, we advise employers to either enforce their workers to take annual leave by providing the appropriate notice, implement layoffs or short time working, or find alternative duties for staff to undertake until things return to normal.