• So far it has not been a good summer of the roads with severe disruption caused in Kent by Operation Stack. The impact of local companies has been substantial with the FTA indicating that the cost of keeping a lorry stationary is £50 per hour.

    How have employers reacted to employees who are late or who say they cannot make it into work because of travel problems caused by Operation Stack?
    Where possible come employers are allowing some flexibility in start and finish times to enable employees to avoid the worst of the delays and home working is being offered where this fits in with the work to be done.

    What happens, however, when some employees take action to minimise the impact, for example, leaving home earlier to allow for extra time and others do not or employers need employees to make sure they are in on time, for example because of production targets or because they are a care provider with a requirement to meet minimum staffing levels.

    The starting point is a clear statement (or ideally policy) from an employer about what is acceptable and what flexibility (if any) there might be.

    If employees must be in on time then it is helpful to set this out clearly along with the reasons why this is the case and if disciplinary action might be taken, then a reference to the relevant part of the disciplinary policy should be made.

    Where employees are going to be expected to make up time when they are late, then it is useful to provide a clear indication of how they can do this e.g. can they take a shorter lunch break or work the additional time over the course of a week. The policy should also tell employees what they need to do to report in if they are going to be late.

    Reports indicate that Operation Stack has cost Kent Businesses millions of pounds and caused disruption to deliveries and fulfilment arrangements. Advance planning and clear guidance for employees may go some way to reducing the impact of further closures.

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