Oil Crisis: Your Rights If You Can’t Get To Work Because You Don’t Have Fuel
The fuel shortage continues as drivers continue to stockpile gasoline and diesel, but if you can’t live up to your responsibilities, our expert tells you where you stand
As recently as last week, the energy and cost of living crisis was causing great concern to consumers.
But this week we have a new crisis in the form of fuel shortages at gas stations.
Long queues were seen on the forecourt across the country as drivers desperately try to refuel their vehicles.
But the government says there is no fuel shortage – instead, he blames panicking shoppers for running out of supplies because there isn’t enough gasoline for everyone.
Here are the top three questions readers asked me this week …
Can I be fired if I can’t get to work because I don’t have enough gas?
Your employer couldn’t fire you instantly just because you couldn’t get to work due to fuel shortages. To do so would likely be interpreted as unfair dismissal.
Your position is further strengthened if the nature of your job means that you can work from home until the issue is resolved.
You will have the right to take time off to look after your children if fuel shortages prevent them from going to school.
But if you take time off and can’t work from home, your employer will have no obligation to pay you.
I cannot take my child to school. Will I be fined?
You will usually be fined if your child is late at least 10 times in a three month period.
But if you fall for the trap due to fuel shortages, you are unlikely to be penalized.
What rights do I have if the services are canceled or interrupted?
I’ve heard of canceled taxi and private transport reservations and delayed deliveries due to fuel shortages.
And unless the problem is resolved quickly, it will inevitably have a ripple effect on events like weddings.
In all of these situations, you will have a contract – in some cases a verbal contract – which will provide that a service will be provided to you in return for remuneration.
Normally, if the merchant does not provide the service or does not provide everything that has been agreed, you will have a breach of contract claim.
But here it is likely that the trader will claim that some force majeure event i.e. force majeure or unforeseen circumstances caused the breach.
At first glance, this is correct.
But unless they have a written clause in the contract or the T & Cs stating that a fuel shortage is considered force majeure, that will not be a valid reason for breaking the contract.
In most cases, you won’t want to go to court – but at the very least, you should demand a full refund or a partial refund if part of the service is provided.