Travel and airport disruption has been widely reported already this summer. And with many of us still looking to get away this year, it may be set to continue for many more months.
But we can’t all cancel our plans just because of the potential risk of disruption. So, it seems likely that as an employer you may have instances where employees are unable to get home as expected after travelling abroad. Whether the travel has been for work or a personal holiday.
We look at what you can do as an employer if you have employees stranded aboard.
What to do if you employees are stranded aboard
Employees on a work trip
With travel disruption ongoing, it may be sensible to sit down and evaluate whether employees really do need to travel abroad for work at this current time. Remote working solutions have become well used in recent years so could offer an alternative solution if travel is not an absolute necessity.
If travel is a necessity, then you will need to acknowledge the risk that employees may become stranded abroad if their travel is disrupted. You’ll need to have contingency plans in place to both help your employee get home and to support them whilst they are stranded. It is likely that you will also need to continue to pay them whilst they are stranded if the only reason that they travelled in the first place was for business related purposes.
Employees who have been working abroad for business, may be able to continue to work remotely whilst they wait for their travel to be rearranged and disruption resolved.
Make sure you have a good business travel insurance policy in place. Ensure that your employees are aware of this and any financial support they may be entitled to if they do become stranded (e.g., meal allowances, accommodation costs etc).
Employees on a personal holiday
If employees are on a personal holiday and experience disruption to their travel meaning they are unable to return to work as expected, then it is usually advised that they follow the normal absence reporting system that employees use in your business. Explaining they are delayed, the reasons for this and the expected return date (if able to provide one). Having this information means that as an employer you can, where possible, take steps to cover their absence.
In terms of whether you should continue to pay employees who are stranded abroad then this may depend on what your contract with your employee says. In many cases there is no obligation for you to do this as an employer. But you’ll also want to consider areas such as employee relations and employee wellbeing when making your decision.
Options could include
- Allowing employees to cover absence with holiday entitlement (if any remains)
- Allowing them to work overtime to make up for the time missed
- Allowing the time to be taken as unpaid leave
- Allowing employees to work remotely (if possible and they have the correct set up)
- Continuing to pay employees as a gesture of goodwill
It will also be good practice to try and be understanding with your employees. Being stranded abroad can be a stressful experience. So, feeling supported by an employer can be beneficial from an employee wellbeing perspective.
It may be beneficial to seek advice from a HR or legal professional when making your decisions about how to deal with the situation of having an employee stranded abroad due to travel disruption. This can help to ensure that you treat your employees in the fairest possible way.
As a business it is likely that you will require a range of insurance covers. Don’t go it alone – chat to one of our insurance experts today about your business and we can work with you to arrange the insurance you need to protect not only your business but also your employees. You can call our business insurance experts on 020 8290 9080 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.