What Can I Do If My Staff Can’t Get To Work Because Of The Petrol Crisis?

We have all seen the disruption caused by the petrol panic and regardless of whether you think its due to a shortage of fuel, a logistical dilemma or a symptom of panic buying, the outcome is the same.

Some staff are affected by travel disruption because they are unable to get fuel or due to the congestion caused by queues to petrol stations.

So what can you do if your staff are unable to get to work?

Remote Working

The good news is that over the last 2 years many businesses have proved how adaptable they are and so lots of businesses now have the equipment and measures in place to allow staff to work from home. If you are able to allow staff to work remotely during this period, then this may be the option for you.


You will pleased to know that there is no requirement to sing karaoke like James Cordon but car sharing could help with the fuel dilemma. It may save on costs if staff share a lift and it’s better for the environment. You could offer incentives to staff who car share such as a free lunch or voucher. Of course we are aware that Covid19 is not over yet so we would suggest good cleaning and optional mask wearing to help reduce the spread of the virus.

Change Working Hours

This won’t help staff to get fuel but it could mean they are able to travel when there is less traffic on the roads. This will help with fuel consumption and ease the frustration of sitting in traffic.

Allow Annual Leave

If home working is not an option then consider allowing staff to take some annual leave or toil. You can also insist of staff using annual leave but employers should be mindful that they need to give twice as much notice as the leave that they want staff to take. EG, two days notice = one days annual leave or four days notice = two days annual leave.

If there is no annual leave available then you might want to allow staff to take unpaid leave.

I need to close my business due to staff shortages do I have to pay them?

As long as employees are willing and able to work then you will have to pay them even if you have been forced to close. The key being able and willing so those staff who are unable to come to work will not get paid.

You might not have to pay staff when you close if:

*You have the contractual option of lay-off (see our other blogs for more information)

*You have given staff notice to take annual leave

* Staff have agreed to take unpaid leave.

Where can I get more information?

The information in this blog is general guidance and not intended to be used as advice. If you need specific advice or you want to be sure that you are doing the right thing then contact us at info@orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk or visit our website at http://www.orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk

What Is The Scoop On Zero Hour Contracts

What Is The Scoop On Zero Hour Contracts

What is a Zero-hour contract?

Zero-hour contracts are the in-between status of employment and self-employment.

Giving workers the freedom to pick and choose their working hours, which is great for those with other responsibilities such as caring for a child or a loved one and those looking to take home some extra cash without the commitment.

Although zero-hour contracts are often portrayed as a cruel, heartless way of hiring staff they can be beneficial to both employer and employee.

The employer doesn’t have to provide any minimum number of working hours and the worker doesn’t have to work a minimum number of hours. Sounds simple enough right? Not quite.

It’s important to get things right to avoid pitfalls Employment Law.

There are various terms for zero hour contract workers including casual worker and although strictly speaking there is nothing wrong with the term causal worker it is not recognised in Law.

Employers should also be aware that zero hour workers are still entitled to basic employment rights such as.

  • Written terms
  • Paid holidays
  • Protection from whistleblowing
  • Protection from unlawful discrimination
  • National minimum wage
  • Payslips

Like most things, Zero-hour contracts come with both pros and cons for both parties. 


The benefits for employers are…

  • Reduces cash flow worries.
  • Great alternative to employment in seasonal industries such as hospitality and entertainment which sees a reduction in income certain parts of the year.
  • Employers can get the opportunity to hire staff on an ad hoc basis before making the decision to have the commitment of an employee.

Benefits for employees

  • Flexibility, workers get to decide when they work
  • Not committed to one job. Great for those pursuing other endeavours

But like everything zero-hour contracts have their downsides…


The downsides for employers are…

  • Poor reputation: There is still a stigma surrounding zero-hour contracts
  • Staff shortages : Staff can refuse work offered to them
  • Less Control : As employer will not be providing job security they are unable to prevent staff from working for others.

Downsides for employees

  • No guaranteed salary: As the amount of work available can fluctuate
  • Difficulty getting finance: Securing payments like mortgages, rent and even car finance can be difficult without guaranteed wages 
  • Zero-hour workers are not employees and as such are covered by basic rights only. 

There are a few myths still surrounding zero-hour contracts which are taken as common knowledge but are a violation of worker rights, and as such should be avoided.

Do workers on zero-hour contracts still get paid holidays? 

They still accumulate holiday pay the same as everyone else, all employees are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid holiday a year.

 What about any other forms of paid leave?

Along with paid holiday. They may also be entitled to maternity/paternity pay along with SSP (Statutory Sick Pay) but these are not guaranteed to them, the worker may take the time off as they do not have to make themselves available for work.

Okay, but I don’t have to have any of this in writing?

You certainly do! Any contract given to workers must be given in writing and recent changes require you to hand the contract by day one of work.

To conclude, it’s crucial you state within the contract that as an employer you don’t intend to create an employment relationship. There are several things you should consider when drafting a zero-hour contract like how the individuals’ contract will be brought to an end, how entitlements will be accrued and more. If all this seems daunting and you don’t know where to start. Get in contact us over at http://www.orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk.