WHAT DOES LABOUR LAW SAY ABOUT FUEL SHORTAGES AND ENERGY CONSERVATION ?
In most of the Parisian service stations, it has become impossible to find petrol. After 10 days of strike, and a renewal of the movement until this Tuesday 11 October, at least, the question of absences from work due to fuel shortages is becoming a major issue for HR managers.
What about employees who cannot get to work because of a lack of fuel to refuel their vehicle? First of all, the employee should explore alternative means of transport, regardless of their comfort and/or convenience. If no alternative means of transport are available, the employee must of course inform the employer and provide concrete evidence that he or she is unable to get to work. There are no sanctions in this context, but without work the employee will be considered absent and will not be paid. It is, of course, possible to talk to the employer about taking time off or, where possible, teleworking.
Indeed, after a massive recourse to telework during the pandemic, followed by a stabilisation / normalisation of the practice, companies are noticing these last days an increase in the recourse to telework to allow employees to continue their activity despite transport difficulties.
Similarly, employers are beginning to be encouraged to use telework in order to control rising energy costs. The Labour Code requires the employer to maintain the working premises at a suitable temperature, which is not defined in the texts. Faced with soaring energy supply costs, the government asked companies at the end of the summer to act to consume less energy, threatening rationing measures this winter. They were invited to draw up an energy sobriety plan, and even to appoint a “sobriety referent” within their company. Some of the measures consist of lowering the temperature in the premises, reducing the range of heating and concentrating the presence of employees on site in limited time slots.
Whether this is consciously negotiated in advance of the winter period, or “prompted” by the drop in the temperature of heating systems in companies announced for this winter, two things are certain for the months to come: compared to previous years, small woollens and plaids will be appearing in offices, and teleworking will be the order of the day in the face of the rigours of winter.
Emilie Meridjen, partner in labour law