If someone had told us a couple of months ago, that an Icelandic volcano would ground all planes in and out of the UK and Europe, causing thousands of Brits to be stranded abroad and widespread disruption to business and people who have recently completed the company formation process, nobody would have believed them.
While most airports are now open, businesses still have to contend with the fact that many of their employees cannot get into work. The economic impact of the Volcano for the airlines has been well documented, but what about the broader impact on small businesses and how should they handle staff absence? We speak to Jennifer Goodman, a solicitor specializing in employment law.
“At the moment we are advising our clients to by flexible with employees who cannot get back to the UK. While the situation is seen as an unforeseen, companies are not obliged to pay staff for the time.”
“However, if an employee is stranded abroad as they were trying to get back from a business trip businesses would be expected to pay them or come to some alternative agreement, whereby the employee can take the time off in lieu.”
Adrian Marcus, founder of IT company ‘Axis’ comments; “For my company, the only tangible impact has been the fact that a lot of client meetings have been suspended. We have used the phone and Skype to deal with important things which couldn’t wait, but apart from that I expect we will only fully know the impact when things return to normal.”