The UK Rules
Travel Disruption and Time Off Work

Travel Disruption and Work: Your Rights

Find out how time off due to travel disruption affects your rights. Check how journey disruptions, such as winter weather, can affect your holiday entitlement.

TRAVEL DISRUPTIONS: There are several options for employees who lose time off work because of disruptive travel.

The first step should be is discussing the matter with your employer. It provides an opportunity to see whether:

Note: Always check your employment contract. It often outlines your rights about travel disruption and time off work.

Taking Annual Leave (paid holiday)

Travel disruption comes in many different forms. It could a public transport cancellation or bad weather. Either way, employers have certain rights. They can ask staff to take paid holiday (annual leave) - providing they give the correct notice.

As a rule, the notice given must be at least double the length of time they ask employees to take as annual leave. Thus, taking annual leave of one (1) day would need two (2) days of advance notice.

Note: Your contract of employment may stipulate a different notice period. As a rule, the notice period stated in the contract would apply.

Flexible Working Arrangements

What if you have a flexible working agreement and can't make it to work due to travel disruptions? In this case, your employers can ask you to work from home instead or make up for lost time at a later date.

But, as a rule employers cannot force this issue. An exception applies if the arrangement is already written in the contract of employment.

If Your Workplace Closes

The interruption to your normal working pattern could be a closed workplace. In this case, your employer cannot deduct your pay providing you do not usually work from home.

But, employers may request their staff to work from another workplace or to carry out their job from home.

School Closure and Time Off Work

What about school closures or when childcare arrangements get disrupted? In most cases, an employee would have the right to take time off for emergency leave to care for family dependants.

Note: It is best for an employee to set up an agreement with their employer beforehand.

Adverse Winter Weather and Travel Disruption

As a rule, employees do not get automatic entitlement to pay if bad weather causes an absence from work. Read the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service advice about winter weather and travel disruption.

Travel Disruption and Work: Your Rights in the United Kingdom