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Expenses claimed by staff stranded by the volcanic ash travel chaos are unlikely to be paid by employers

Disputes between stranded employees and employers are beginning to flare up over what are allowable 'business' expenses incurred by employees in their efforts to get back to the UK.

According to commercial law firm EMW Picton Howell, unless the employer has ‘expressly agreed' they will cover the repatriation costs, the employer is under no obligation to reimburse the employee.
Employees who have taken on some onerous travel arrangements to hurry back to the office are inclined to think that they will be repaid for their ‘professionalism', but that will be entirely at their employer's discretion
Louise Holder, of EMW Picton Howell's employment team, said: "Some employees are being faced with some pretty high bills especially as there have been incidences where hotels and taxis have inflated prices to make the most of the crisis."

HMRC will demand tax and National Insurance on any expenses if the individual was on holiday while stranded.
Holder added: "It is a real shame that HMRC can't waive its rules for this crisis and insists on increasing the expense bills for companies that want to help repatriate their staff."
And diligent employees thinking of taking action that might result in extra travel costs in order to get back to work will need to raise the question with their employers while they are still away.
Employees who attempted to take advantage of the travel chaos to prolong their holiday could be assessed by their employers on whether they have made ‘reasonable' efforts to get back to work.
Holder added: "Employers are allowed to ask for an account of the efforts they made to get back to work. If it transpires that the employee has chosen to sit by the pool while ferries or flights were available, then that isn't going to be looked on favourably.
"We would advise employers to show some kind of understanding to their employees by being flexible with the way they resolve the issue, but where there are signs of abuse there is the potential for disciplinary action."