Returning to Work

 

All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. Sectors of the economy that are allowed to be open should be open – such as food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research. As soon as practicable, workplaces should be set up to meet the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines. These will keep you as safe as possible, while allowing as many people as possible to resume their livelihoods. In particular, workplaces should, where possible, ensure employees can maintain a two metre distance from others, and wash their hands regularly.

 

You can find the full government guidance on which businesses should or should not be open here.

 

While businesses can only re-open in accordance with Covid-19 Secure guidelines, which does include a risk assessment, employers have a responsibility to protect their employees and make any possibly adjustments to help improve working arrangements. If an employer is not operating a safe working environment or have not taken appropriate measures to reduce the risk of covid-19, you may be able to find out more information and raise your concerns with the Local Authority for where the business is located or the Health and Safety Executive at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm

Advice for Vulnerable People Returning to Work

 

Clinically vulnerable individuals, who are at higher risk of severe illness, have been asked to take extra care in observing social distancing if unable to work from home.  Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals have been strongly advised not to work outside the home.

 

Now that there are fewer cases of covid-19 and the virus alert level has been reduced, the Government is gently encouraging more people to return to work where it is possible. However, precautions should still be taken.

 

An employer is expected to make every effort to enable any clinically vulnerable employees to work from home. It could be that an employer may be able to offer different types of leave, different working patterns or perhaps a different role.

 

If this is not possible, and the clinically vulnerable individual has been asked to return to their workplace, their employer should enable them to keep 2 metres from others at all times. They should be offered the safest role on site and, if contact with others is required, an employer should assess if this involves an acceptable level of risk.

 

Particular attention should also be paid to employees who live with clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.

 

There are several support schemes still available to businesses who are struggling during this crisis, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-employment Income Support Scheme. These schemes are designed to support both employers and employees and to protect jobs. These have been extended for a further three months.

 

It is important to state that employees have protection against unfair dismissal and, if they believe they have been unfairly dismissed, which could possibly be on the grounds of discrimination, they could challenge it at an employment tribunal. Further details can be found online at: https://www.gov.uk/employment-tribunals.

 

While businesses can only re-open in accordance with Covid-19 Secure guidelines, which does include a risk assessment, employers have a responsibility to protect their employees and make any possibly adjustments to help improve working arrangements. If an employer is not operating a safe working environment or have not taken appropriate measures to reduce the risk of covid-19, you may be able to find out more information and raise your concerns with the Local Authority where the business is located or the Health and Safety Executive at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm