Q&A Do I have to pay workers if delayed flights keep them off work?

Q:      Can you clarify the situation for employers whose workers fail to return to work at the end of their agreed leave period? For example, as an employer, would I have to pay an employee who overruns his holiday? Would I be obliged to let them take the additional time as unpaid leave?

A:       It really depends on what you have written into your contracts of employment. Generally speaking, unless you have included a clause that gives them a right to pay if they cannot attend work due to unforeseen circumstances beyond their control, you do not have to pay them if they overrun their agreed leave period and are not ill. Neither do they have a legal right to unpaid leave.

In the interests of good relations, however, it is probably worth deciding on a strategy that would work for both you and them in such circumstances, given the current uncertainty around overseas travel. One option may be to allow an employee to take the extra days as holiday out of their annual allowance if they cannot return to work on time. If they do not have sufficient leave remaining to do that, then you could allow them to take unpaid leave. Another option, depending on the type of work they do and whether they have with them the necessary equipment to carry it out, is that they work remotely from wherever they are.

The unprecedented situations we have all lived with since the beginning of the covid pandemic has highlighted the wisdom of regularly updating contracts of employment so that they cater as much as possible for the unforeseen. This may be a good time for you to book a review with an employment solicitor.

This question has been answered by James Denton, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194 

James Denton

James Denton


Solicitor in our Civil Litigation team in the Oswestry and Wrexham offices.