Flood Risks

A number of our clients have experienced issues since the flash floods that occurred just before Christmas. Not only are they having to deal with the insurance companies, and the debris left behind from the flood itself, they are also having to deal with multiple issue in relation to their staff. The main question being, how do you deal with staff when their workplace is not open due to an Act of God?

There are a number of options that Employers could exercise dependent on their terms of individual contracts of employment:

1.    Temporary lay-offs:- if there is a sufficient clause in the employment contract to allow the employer to do this. Here staff can be laid off for up to 4 weeks at a time or for no longer than 6 weeks in a 13 week period. After this date, the employee is entitled to make an application to their Employer for a redundancy payment.

2.    Short Term Working again if the contract allows for it, whereby hours can be reduced for the same timescale as above.

3.    If either of the above are utilised, the employee will be entitled to a guaranteed payment of £24.20 per day, providing they have been continuously employed for over 1 month. This payment cannot exceed 5 days in any period of 3 months. On other days employees may be able to claim Job Seekers Allowance to mitigate their loss during this period. This is a preferable option as not paying staff at all could result in a claim for breach of contract, thus leading to constructive dismissal and unlawful deductions from wages.

4.    Redeployment – if employers have an alternative site, then utilise as many of the staff at these sites as possible.

5.    Redundancy – if necessary, it may be necessary to consider reducing the workforce. Remember that employees with under 2 years service do not have any right to a redundancy payment, not that this should be the sole criteria when constructing a selection criteria, however it can be considered.

Published: 20 Jan 2014

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