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Human Resources

Staff Policy on Travel Disruption

Contents
  1. General Principle
  2. Staff Unable to Attend Work Due To Travel Disruption
  3. Staff Travelling on School Business
  4. Late Attendance at Work and Leaving Early
  5. Communications
  6. Approval
General Principle
  1. In general terms, the School policy is to expect that staff should attend for work unless they are taking authorised leave (including annual leave). With this in mind, all staff are required to make reasonable efforts to get to work in all circumstances.
  2. However, the School recognises that staff may face difficulties attending their place of work and returning home during periods of severe weather or when there are disruptions to public transport. Whilst the School is committed to protecting the health and safety of all its employees, it must ensure that disruption caused to the services it provides is minimised. The purpose of this policy is to outline the responsibilities of employees for attendance at work during periods of travel disruption, for whatever reason, and to define appropriate procedures. This policy applies to all School employees.
Staff Unable to Attend Work Due To Travel Disruption
  1. Staff should make every reasonable effort to attend their place of work as normal, taking account of the travel conditions (for example, in severe weather conditions, it may be unsafe to attempt to travel).
  2. Where staff have been unable to attend work due to travel disruption (including transport strike action, severe weather conditions etc), the following policy will apply:
    1. Staff who find themselves in such a situation should inform their line managers/Faculty Offices as soon as possible about their situation, either by telephone or e-mail. This should include information about their likely return date (if known) and any urgent work, meetings or classes that need to be covered or postponed whilst they are away.
    2. Staff should agree with their line manager; Head of Department or Dean of Faculty one, or a combination of, the following options:
      • Annual Leave
        Individuals may cover any days absence from their existing annual leave entitlement. Where such entitlements have already been used for the year, up to five days leave may be brought forward from the following year’s entitlement at the discretion of the line manager to cover such absences. In such circumstances, it is the responsibility of the line manager to ensure that such arrangements are recorded so that leave entitlement is not exceeded for the following year.

      • Time in Lieu
        Alternatively, individuals may elect to take the absence as time in lieu and make up any lost time on days/dates as agreed with their line manager; Head of Department or Dean of Faculty. The lost time should be made up if possible before the end of the School leave year (30th September).

      • Authorised Unpaid Leave
        As an alternative to the above, individuals may elect to take any days when they were unable to attend for work as authorised unpaid leave. In such instances, the individual’s line manager; Head of Department or Dean of Faculty should notify HR accordingly and an appropriate deduction will be made from normal salary for the following month.

      • Off-Campus or Home Working
        Where authorized to do so by their line manager; Head of Department or Dean of Faculty and where suitable facilities exist to allow this, staff may work off-Campus during the period of absence.  In such instances, it may be appropriate to agree specific work outputs for the period concerned and staff will be paid as normal.

      These arrangements need to be agreed with the individual’s line manager; Head of Department or Dean of Faculty and be notified to HR as appropriate.

    3. In exceptional circumstances, where staff are unable to attend their place of work and are unable to work off-Campus or at home due to circumstances beyond their control, line managers; Heads of Departments and Deans of Faculties can use their discretion to grant up to an additional two days paid “emergency leave”. This should only be granted where it is not possible for the member of staff to make up the lost time or where coverage from existing or brought-forward annual leave entitlements are not practicable or possible (e.g. staff on fixed-term contracts for example).
    4. Where staff are unable to attend for work due to travel disruption immediately following the end of their authorised annual leave, they should make a claim on their travel insurance to cover any loss of earnings as a result of being unable to attend for work, if applicable.
Staff Travelling on School Business

For staff travelling in the UK and overseas on pre-authorised School business whose travel arrangements are disrupted due to circumstances beyond their control, such that they cannot attend work, the following policy will apply:

  1. Staff in such a situation should inform their line manager; Head of Department or Faculty Office as soon as possible about their situation, either by telephone or e-mail.  This should include information about their likely return date (if known) and any urgent work, meetings or classes that need to be covered or postponed whilst they are away.
  2. Where the type of work being undertaken and the facilities to undertake it exist, staff should agree with their line manager; Head of Department or Dean of Faculty to work remotely.  In such instances, it may be appropriate to agree specific work outputs for the period concerned and staff will be paid as normal.
  3. The School will reimburse necessary and reasonable additional accommodation and travel costs incurred by staff in such circumstances in accordance with the School’s travel insurance policy, where this is not the responsibility of a third party (e.g. transport provider or tour operator).  This will necessitate the production of receipts for all such items of expenditure and written evidence from the third party transport provider/tour operator that a refund on tickets is not being provided.
  4. Staff affected will continue to be paid as normal during the period of disruption.
Late Attendance at Work and Leaving Early

It is recognised that disruption to travel is likely to result in longer than normal journeys to and from work for staff, resulting in staff arriving late and possibly needing to leave earlier than normal. In these circumstances, the following policy will apply:

  1. Staff who have made the effort to attend work during periods of travel disruption should not be penalised for arriving late at work.
  2. Line managers; Heads of Departments or Deans of Faculties are asked to use their discretion in respect of letting staff with particularly long or difficult journeys to leave early during periods of travel disruption. Such decisions should be made on an individual basis in discussion with the affected members of staff. In making such decisions, due regard should be given to the need to maintain essential services.
Communications

If it becomes clear that there is travel disruption that is likely to affect large numbers of staff across the School, managers and staff should look out for messages sent by e-mail or on the School intranet and website concerning aspects of application of this policy. This could include, for example, any decisions to close down the campus or to ask staff not to travel to work if conditions are unsafe.

Approval
  • This policy has been discussed with the School’s recognised trade unions, UCU and UNISON.
  • The policy was approved by the School’s Executive Board on 26th April 2010.

HRD Directorate
SOAS

April 2010