You may be worrying about paying staff during blackouts. There has been speculation in the press that the government are making plans for blackouts again. The winter of 1973-74 saw the introduction of a Three-Day working week. This was a government policy to conserve energy due to coal miners and railway workers going out on strike. The government claim this is just one of many scenarios that they are planning for.

The reason behind any potential 2022/23 blackout is very different to 1973/74. However the impacts will be the same: businesses may have to close whilst other businesses may be busier than normal. Extended working hours on the days work can be done may be required.


This raises a range of questions around paying for staff who aren’t working! Many businesses simply couldn’t sustain a full wage bill on much-reduced operating hours. The good news is, there are solutions, that your HR Consultant can support you with…

  • Put employees on lay off because they have no work to give them on blackout days.
  • Watch out for any ‘Job Retention‘ type scheme the government might announce, using a similar scheme to the Covid furlough program.
  • Other ways of covering the time – annual leave, for example
  • Negotiate temporary changes to working hours for the days when work can be done or cover it as overtime (at maybe enhanced rates of pay)
  • Getting extra staff in for those businesses that can stay open and will be extra busy
  • It is unlikely that redundancies would be needed due to the short nature of the blackouts. However it’s not going to help businesses who are already struggling due to increases in energy bills etc, so redundancies might happen.

I am a HR and health and safety consultant working across Kent and London. I also have colleagues who cover the whole of the UK. If you would like a chat to discuss your HR concerns, call 07977 167 449 or send me a message.

Categories: HR