More than 20,000 British tourists were recently stranded in Egypt as a result of the disruption to flights, how should their employers deal with their absence from work?
The starting point is that employees who are absent from work are not automatically entitled to receive pay, so employers could withhold pay unless the employee is able to work remotely. Alternatively the employees could be asked to take additional annual leave, although there would be difficulties in giving the right amount of notice if the employee didn't agree. Given that the employees are absent through no fault of their own, it might be prudent to show some leniency to avoid damaging staff morale.
The disruption in Egypt, the impact of fog or other bad weather on airports, and the chaos caused by the volcanic ash from Iceland in 2010, all highlight the need for employers to have policies on transport disruption and broader disaster contingency plans.