Fuel shortages: what do I risk if I can’t get to work?

Fuel shortages: what do I risk if I can't get to work?

Even though fuel is hard to come by in the North and Pas de Calais, is the risk of running out of fuel a valid excuse not to go to work? What is written in the Labor Code?

The fear of running out of fuel, caused by the transfer of 20 cents from the TotalEnergies group and the blocking of several of its warehouses, has led to a very tense situation at many gas stations in the Nord and Pas de Calais regions. Refueling is a marathon, for some even impossible.

According to government spokesman Olivier Veron, more than 30% of gas stations in Haute-France (compared to 12% in France) are experiencing problems with at least one type of fuel.

On the A1, the Phalempin Ouest station was full on Wednesday morning. In Arrageois, the police were also on the bridge, forced to intervene near the stations, where the situation is tense.

Can the lack of gasoline be considered a valid reason for not coming to work? Many of you are asking us a question. ” The Labor Code does not provide for such a situation. says Thierry Dutriot, a lawyer from Lille who specializes in labor law.

The employee may refer to “force majeure” – ” an unpredictable and overwhelming event “, according to the Labor Code – but in the case of a shortage of gasoline, it is difficult to justify.

If alternative modes of transport are available (public transport, carpooling, etc.), the absence cannot be considered excused. This is what the Paris Court of Appeal confirmed in a decision of October 3, 1972: an employee cannot invoke “force majeure” when transportation is substituted.


The employer may consider that lack of fuel is not a valid excuse. An employee may rely on other modes of transportation such as biking, carpooling, public transportation, or sleeping in a hotel near the workplace.

If the activity allows it and if the employee has the means necessary to perform his duties, remote work can be offered.

If the employee does not have the opportunity to go to work, he will justify himself to the employer and recognize himself as conscientious. This shortage affects the company as much as the employees, the employer can take it into account. “Lila’s lawyer says.

How will the salary be affected?

In case of absence, the amount calculated from the calculation sheet should be in proportion to its duration. however, to avoid payroll deductionthere are several options: compensating missed hours, day off or RTT.

On the other hand, in case of repeated and unjustified absences, the employee exposes himself to sanctions, which can range from a simple warning to dismissal.

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