Workers across the Midlands and beyond are finding it harder to get to work as a result of higher fuel prices and the current wave of rail strikes.

Given the travel chaos, Sutton Coldfield-based specialists HR Caddy is calling on employers to support their employees as they deal with the costs and delays of the current crisis.

Although the train strikes planned are sporadic, it is hard to deny that they are making it more challenging for workers to commute to work, causing many to be late or absent.

Meanwhile, the rising cost of petrol and diesel is forcing many employees to question their commute, with some unions suggesting that lower-paid workers are calling in sick as they cannot afford to fill up their cars. 

“Many of us are having to deal with the difficulties of inflation, particularly when it comes to the necessary journeys that we take to work,” said Nicola Callaghan, Managing Director at HR Caddy.

“While we appreciate that many employers may grow frustrated by regular lateness or unexpected absence due to these issues, many will be understanding of the challenges their workers face.”

To help workers out, employers should be clear about their expectations, but offer additional flexibility, where possible.

This could include temporarily relaxing start and finish times, allowing office staff to work from home and having more informal discussions regarding absence or lateness.

Nicola stressed, however, that businesses should make it clear that these measures are temporary, not permanent.

“Making these temporary changes may not require a change in employment contract every time, but if you are making more permanent decisions on the workday these should be codified in your staff handbook and each individual’s employment contract,” added Nicola.

Beyond the local travel issues, many workers are also facing problems with their holiday flights, with some experiencing cancelled holidays, while others are stuck overseas.

Nicola said that holiday cancellations could be a potential area of conflict between a business and its employees, as staff may want to return to work and reschedule their leave for later in the year.

However, HR Caddy said that employers are not required to agree to leave cancellation requests unless it is in an employee’s contract.

“Having to rearrange holiday at short notice can be stressful for employees and employers alike, but if the decision to move a holiday to later in the year does not affect the commercial operations of a business, then there is little reason to create conflict,” added Nicola.

Is your business struggling with the impact of travel chaos? Speak to HR Caddy today by calling 0121 378 3998 or visiting www.hrcaddy.co.uk