Can’t Make it to Work Because of Transport Strike?

Can’t Make it to Work Because of Transport Strike?

What if you can’t make it to work due to a transport strike?

This has been a topical issue in recent months due to the strikes on Southern Rail and London Underground. But if you normally rely on public transport to get to work, and it’s not operating on a particular day due to a strike, what should you do?

Strike days are usually announced in advance, so you have time to make alternative plans. If you own a car, then you may need to plan to drive in to work, even if it is likely to take a fair bit longer than your usual journey. Otherwise, can you reasonably make the journey by another method of public transport, or get a lift with a colleague?

Alternatively, you may be able to work from home on that day, although this is entirely at your employer’s discretion – sometimes it is not practical for staff to work from home. However, given that you will know in advance when the strike is to happen, this gives you and your boss a chance to work out what work you can do at home, and how this will work in terms of IT and other logistical arrangements.

You can of course ask to take a strike day off as part of your annual leave. You need to give two days’ notice for one day’s leave, and four days’ notice for two days’ leave. However, you could end up with a seriously depleted annual leave allowance as a result – remember that industrial disputes sometimes drag on for several months.

Unless there is a provision in your contract of employment or company handbook, there is no automatic right to be paid for days not worked when you are unable to get in. In addition, while firing an employee for a single day’s absence on a strike day is likely to be considered as unfair dismissal, there is a potential disciplinary issue if you accumulate lots of strike-related absences. This means it is vitally important that you talk to your boss once a strike is announced, and agree in advance what the best course of action for that day or days is.

If you are making the journey to work on a strike day, and the trip ends up taking longer than anticipated, telephone your employer as soon as possible and explain the delay and when you expect to arrive. Keep your employer updated on the progress of your journey.

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