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Payment of employees unable to attend work - Expert Comments

Just Employment Law
18th Dec 2010

Are employees entitled to be paid if they are unable to attend work?

So, are employees entitled to be paid when they are unable to attend work in such circumstances?

 

In short, this depends on a number of factors.

 

Firstly, employees must be paid, notwithstanding their absence, if they have a right to payment in such conditions under their contract of employment.

 

Secondly, if there are any collective agreements which apply to their employment giving employees such a right, they must again be paid in full.

 

Where there is no contractual right to receive payment, and no collective agreements apply, providing there is work for employees to do had they been able to attend site, there is no right for employees to receive payment where they are unable to report for work.

 

A company may choose, as a gesture of goodwill, to pay employees who, for reasons outwith their control, are unable to attend work. Should a number of employees be affected, the company should make the same decision in relation to whether or not to pay them in order to avoid any inference of discrimination. It should also be made clear that any decision to pay is a one-off decision and that the company are not setting any precedent for the future.

 

Whilst such a gesture may be financially burdensome on the company, the goodwill and loyalty that could be generated from key members of staff may outweigh these burdens.

 

Where the company makes the decision not to pay employees, they may wish to allow an employee to take the day as annual leave instead.

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