Pay - Disruption getting to work


Some employers might offer pay when an employee cannot get to work due to disruption. If they do, they should make this clear in their employees' contracts.

If there's nothing in the contract about pay in these circumstances, an employer does not have to pay an employee. This is because the employee is not fulfilling their contract of employment.

However, employers should consider the benefits of paying employees when disruption causes problems getting to work. For example, it could improve staff morale and help retain employees.

Pay when an employer temporarily closes the workplace

If employees were ready, willing and able to work for the day or shift, they're usually entitled to their normal pay if their employer:

  • chooses to fully or partly close the workplace for a time
  • tells them to work fewer hours

Some contracts might allow employers to 'lay off' some staff or put them on short-time working. This means staff temporarily do not work. It must be completely clear in the contract when and how these circumstances apply.

Find out more about lay-offs and short-time working

If employer-provided transport is cancelled

An employer might cancel transport they provide for employees when there's travel disruption.

If the contract says the employee is not entitled to pay in these circumstances, the employer does not have to pay them.

Otherwise employees are entitled to their usual pay, as long as they were ready, willing and able to work.

If the contract states there's no entitlement to pay when employer-provided transport is cancelled, an employer can decide to make a discretionary arrangement to pay employees.

With discretionary arrangements, the employer should:

  • treat staff fairly and consistently
  • make clear in writing that it's a discretionary arrangement and does not apply to future similar circumstances

Contact the Acas helpline

If you have questions about pay when disruption affects staff getting to work, contact the Acas helpline.

Last reviewed