Employees Trapped AbroadNatalie Lewis
Have you got employees trapped abroad?
Thomas Cook has collapsed putting around 22,000 jobs at risk and leaving hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers trapped abroad.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it has launched Britain’s largest peacetime repatriation to bring home stranded Thomas Cook passengers.
The authority estimates that on top of the 150,000 trapped abroad an estimated million more have lost their future bookings.
This is not the first time something like this has happened – remember the Icelandic volcano that grounded many flights back in 2010?
All of the travel company’s flights have been cancelled – that means the 105 aircraft it operates, according to its website, have been grounded.
There are 600,000 Thomas Cook travellers who have been left stuck overseas. More than 150,000 of those are Britons.
Only holidaymakers with return flights booked within the next two weeks, between Monday and Sunday October 6, will qualify for a free flight home, as close as possible to their original return date.
Employers will no doubt be faced with employees who are trapped abroad, some of whom will not have been given further details of when or how they are to be brought home. It is advised in this situation that flexibility and discretion are used in dealing with staff who are trapped abroad.
They are likely to be stressed and worried about issues such as accommodation, the continuation of medication, making arrangements for pets/dependents, as well as when they may get home. Their work may not be a top priority for them as it will be for you as their boss or manager.
The first step for you is to make contact with your employee and determine what they know. They may or may not have been briefed at this stage.
Consult your policies and determine if there’s any guidance you can use. Most businesses will consider any period of non-attendance as unpaid leave. However, some will be generous and support their employees financially.
Take each case individually but act with compassion.