The national rail strike:

With a national rail strike beginning this week, here is some advice about how it might impact on your work, or compensation for travel in general.

Are employees entitled to be paid if they can’t get to work due to rail strikes?

Technically if an employee is not able to perform their work due to travel disruption, then the employer has no duty to pay them. It is a far more complex situation if the employer closes the workplace so that no work is available.

From the Government’s website:

“Travel disruption and work

Employees should talk to their employer about working from home, taking leave or making time up later if they cannot get to work because of travel disruption.

Rights about travel disruption can be outlined in the employment contract – employees should check this first.

Taking paid holiday

If there’s travel disruption, employers can ask staff to take paid holiday (annual leave) if they give the correct notice.

This must be at least double the length of time they want employees to take in annual leave. So, for 1 day’s annual leave it would be 2 days’ notice.

The employment contract may set down a different notice period and if so, this will usually apply.

Working flexibly

Employers may ask flexible workers to work from home or make up time later. Unless the employment contract says so, employers cannot insist on this.

If the workplace is closed

If the workplace is closed because of disruption and the employee does not usually work from home, employers cannot usually deduct pay.

Employers might be able to ask staff to go to another workplace or work from home.

Time off to look after children

If an employee’s child’s school is closed or their normal childcare arrangements are disrupted, they could have the right for time off to look after them.

This should be agreed between the employee and the employer.”

Season ticket holders

If you’re a Season Ticket holder (monthly or longer), you can claim 100% compensation through Delay Repay for strike days. You’ll need to claim this directly via the train operator your Season Ticket is for.

Delay Repay Scheme and compensation

The Delay Repay scheme states people with single tickets get 25% off the fare if delayed by 15 to 29 minutes.

This increases to 50% off the fare if held up by 30 to 59 minutes and 100% off the fare if delayed by 60 minutes or longer.

For return tickets, this is calculated on whether one or both legs of the journey were disrupted.

If delayed by more than 120 minutes during one leg, then people are entitled to a full refund of the whole ticket price.

Passengers can get a full refund or change a ticket date if they wish not to travel of their own accord.

According to National Rail, this only applies though if a specific train has ‘been cancelled, delayed or rescheduled.’

National Rail has also said on its website:

“Will I get a refund if my service is cancelled due to strike action?

In the event of your service being affected by strike action, cross-industry ticket acceptance and temporary removal of certain ticket restrictions may be made available.

If you purchased an Advance, Off-Peak or Anytime ticket and choose not to travel because your service has been cancelled, delayed or rescheduled, you will be entitled to a refund or change from the original retailer of your ticket.”

The rules and arrangements are complex, and you can find out more from the National Rail website at 

You should also check the website for the company that you bought your ticket from.

Tom Togher,

June 22, 2022.