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  • HR Heartbeat: From delayed flights and train strikes to new ULEZ charges…

HR Heartbeat: From delayed flights and train strikes to new ULEZ charges…

It’s time for your employment headlines in a hurry. This week’s theme? Planes, trains, and automobiles! Get advice to keep your staff planning and HR in check amid transport chaos.

First published on Thursday, Aug 31, 2023

Last updated on Thursday, Aug 31, 2023

3 min read

Have you heard the latest news?

Welcome to HR Heartbeat, where we give you a rundown of the week's top employment law stories. Stay on the pulse of current trends impacting your business, plus get up-to-the-minute commentaries on all things HR and legal.

Flight delays and stranded staff

A technical issue with air traffic services earlier this week has resulted in a quarter of all flights in and out of UK airports being cancelled — and disruption is expected to last for several days.

As well as not being able to take flight, your staff could get stranded on holiday, which means they may not be back at work when they were meant to be. Remember, it’s your employee’s responsibility to get in touch with you to let you know they’ll be absent. Failure to do so can be classed as unauthorised absence.

But employers should try to be flexible because the circumstances are out of your employee’s control. One way you can be flexible is by allowing last-minute absences to be covered by extra annual leave if your employee agrees.

Don’t wing it. For more instant advice to help your staff planning run smoothly, ask BrightLightning: If an employee is late coming back from their holiday because of flight delays, what should I do?

Expanded London ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) coverage

From today, the ULEZ coverage will be extended to all of Greater London meaning hundreds of thousands more drivers will have to pay when travelling in that area. The charge is designed to tackle air pollution.

What are the specific rules? Well, when you drive a car that doesn’t ‘comply’ with certain criteria, you’ll have to pay £12.50 each day.

Although some help has been offered by Transport for London, affected employees might turn to employers to ask how they can help absorb the cost.

For the latest guidance in a flash, ask BrightLightning: - Do I need to cover the ULEZ charge for my employees who drive into Greater London to come to work? - Can I pay the ULEZ charge for some employees and not others?

More train strikes this week

Members of RMT and Aslef unions are striking this week which will disrupt journeys to and from work on Friday 1 September and Saturday 2 September, with residual disruption on Sunday 3 September.

It’s likely employers are used to the knock-on effects of strikes by now. But you should still prepare as usual, including making sure your employees are aware of when the latest industrial action will be.

Ask BrightLightning: What can I do to lessen the impact of the train strikes for my staff?

And that’s a wrap. Tune in next week for more headlines and make sure you stay ahead of major employment law changes!

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