Fuel shortage: what do I risk if I don’t come to work?

Even if it is complicated to get fuel in the Nord- and Pas-de-Calais, is the risk of running out of fuel a valid excuse for not going to work? What does the Labor Code say?

Fear of fuel shortages, fueled by the 20-cent handover by the TotalEnergies group and the closure of several depots, has created a very tense situation at many petrol stations in the Nord and Pas-de-Calais regions. Refueling is a marathon, even impossible for some.

According to government spokesman Olivier Véran, more than 30% of service stations in Hauts-France (compared to 12% in France) have difficulties with at least one type of fuel.

On the A1, the total station in the Phalempin Ouest area was overloaded on Wednesday morning. Also in Arrageois, the police were on the bridge, forced to intervene near the train stations where the situation is tense.

Can the lack of gas be considered a valid excuse for not going to work? Many of you ask us the question. ” Nothing is provided for in the Labor Code for this type of situation. says Thierry Doutriaux, a Lille-based lawyer specializing in labor law.

The employee could invoke “force majeure” – ” an unpredictable and insurmountable event ‘, according to the Labor Code – but in the event of a fuel shortage, it’s hard to justify.

If alternative means of transport are available (public transport, carpooling, etc.), the absence cannot be considered justified. This was confirmed by the Paris Court of Appeal in a judgment of October 3, 1972: The employee cannot invoke “force majeure” if a replacement transport is carried out.


The employer may consider that fuel shortage is not a valid excuse. The employee can use other modes of transport such as cycling, carpooling, public transport or staying in a hotel near his or her place of work.

If the job allows it and the worker has the means to carry out his or her duties, telework can be proposed.

If the employee has no opportunity to go to work, he will justify himself to his employer and profess good faith. This deficiency affects companies as well as employees, the employer can take this into account. “ Says the lawyer from Lille.

What impact on salary?

In the event of absence, the amount must be deducted from the payslip proportional to its duration. However, to avoid wage deductionsthere are several options: by making up missed lessons, by taking a day off or by RTT.

On the other hand, in the event of repeated and unjustified absence, the employee exposes himself to sanctions, which can range from a simple warning to termination.

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