My employees can't work from the office; it's not safe because of RAAC concrete. What alternative options do I have until the issue is resolved?
If an employee cannot access their workplace because of safety concerns, then what happens next will likely depend upon the specific circumstances and the likely duration of the issue.
- Working from home could be an option for some, however, this may not be viable for all professions.
- If there is another office/branch that it is reasonable for the employees to travel to, they can be temporarily transferred.
- You could agree annual leave is taken or enforce annual leave, as long as double the notice of the leave itself is given, however, this is likely only going to be useful if the building is out of action for a shorter period of time, and it may not be a viable option if it means no one will actually be working.
A contractual clause to lay employees off would be useful here. This clause allows you to send employees home when you are temporarily unable to provide them with work. They will receive no pay other than statutory guarantee pay for the first 5 workless days in each 13 week period. Lay off can lead to employees claiming redundancy pay so the situation needs to be managed carefully.
If there is no lay off clause and you cannot agree to include one at the time with employees, sending them home with no work would require full pay. It is worth, therefore, exploring other methods like working from home or from another branch. Schools are likely to have separate rules on arrangements when the workplace cannot be accessed or no work can be provided which are set out in collective agreements.