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Coronavirus: Returning Back To Work

Concerned about the Coronavirus and Returning Back To Work? Know where you stand and how to keep yourself safe in the workplace. Or possibly you are able to return to work but have dependents? We are in difficult times and need to work with our employers to find the best solution for all parties involved. Here we answer some of your questions. But if you have any unanswered concerns, please contact us.

“My workplace is open again, but….”

 

QuestionAdvice
My workplace is open again BUT…

 

I have symptoms of coronavirus.

 

What should I do?

If you have mild symptoms and can work from home, you can do that.

 

If you are so ill that you cannot work, your usual sickness absence policy and procedure apply, including statutory sick pay (SSP) or company sick pay where relevant.

 

Inform your employer of any colleagues you have been in contact with in order that he can assess the risk of possible transmission of the virus to colleagues and take appropriate steps.

 

My workplace is open again BUT…

 

I am not sick but I need to take care of a sick relative or look after children because their school is closed.

 

What should I do?

You are allowed unpaid emergency time off to arrange care for dependants. This is usually limited to one or two days. This is normally unpaid but check any contractual entitlement to pay.

 

If you are going to need more than one or two days and/or the reason for being off to care for the dependant arises from the coronavirus crisis, then your employer may suggest either working from home, if feasible, or being placed on furlough.  Please note that it is entirely up to the employer to decide who is furloughed and for how long. To be placed on furlough, you would need to have been registered for the scheme by 10th June 2020.

 

You could take any holiday leave due to you.

My workplace is open again BUT…

 

I am not sick, am not shielding or in any of the high-risk categories but I don’t want to go to work because of risk of infection.

 

What should I do?

 

Talk to your employer about your concerns.  Employers are carrying out risk assessments to ensure that workplaces are safe for employees to return.

 

Government advice is still recommending working from home wherever possible.  Talk to your employer about this.

If you cannot work from home, you may be able to take annual leave or your employer may grant you a period of unpaid leave.

 

If your employer has taken all reasonable steps to ensure safety in the workplace, has listened to your concerns and discussed them with you and you are still refusing to go to work, you could be subject to disciplinary action.

My workplace is open again BUT…

 

I am living with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 and they are following the published self-isolation rules.

 

What should I do?

If you yourself are asymptomatic you may be able to work from home

 

If you are unable to work from home, this would be treated as sick leave and you may be entitled to SSP and any contractual sick pay, if appropriate.

 

You should follow the usual sickness absence policy and procedure.

 

You can self-certify for the first seven days and can obtain an isolation note from the NHS website.

 

 

My workplace is open again BUT…

 

I have been advised to “shield” as I am at very high risk and have been written to directly by the NHS.

 

What should I do?

 

If you are asymptomatic, you may be able to work from home.

 

If you cannot attend work because you are shielding you may be entitled to receive SSP.

 

If you cannot work from home and as an alternative to sick leave, your employer may place you on furlough. Please note that it is entirely up to the employer to decide who is furloughed and for how long. To be placed on furlough, you would need to have been registered for the scheme by 10th June 2020.

My workplace is open again BUT…

 

I fall into one of the categories that the government has designated as ‘vulnerable’ and “strongly advised” to practice social distancing (e.g. the over 70s, pregnant women or those with underlying health problems).

 

What should I do?

Talk to your employer about your situation.  Employers are carrying out risk assessments to ensure that workplaces are safe for employees to return.

 

If you yourself are asymptomatic you may be able to work from home.

 

If you cannot work from home, your employer may place you on furlough. Please note that it is entirely up to the employer to decide who is furloughed and for how long. To be placed on furlough, you would need to have been registered for the scheme by 10th June 2020.

 

You are not entitled to SSP unless you develop symptoms yourself or live with someone who does.

 

Your employer may grant you a period of unpaid leave or suggest that you take holiday leave.  Employers will be reluctant to do this since there could be discrimination claims.

 

If your employer has taken all reasonable steps to ensure safety in the workplace, has listened to your concerns and discussed them with you and you are still refusing to go to work, you could be subject to disciplinary action, although this would likely be the last resort.

 

Pregnant women have additional protection where they cannot attend work due to health and safety concerns (for example, the work environment is unsafe due to COVID-19) and may be entitled to full paid leave.

 

My workplace is open again BUT…

 

I am not sick but I cannot travel to work due to the lockdown restrictions on travel or public transport.

 

What should I do?

You should only be commuting to work if it is not possible to work from home.

 

If you cannot work from home and need to use public transport, but are concerned about health and safety on public transport, talk to your employer about possible adjustments eg change to start and finish of the workday.

 

You may be allowed to take annual leave.

 

If your employer has taken all reasonable steps to ensure your safety, has listened to your concerns and discussed them with you and you are still refusing to go to work, you could be subject to disciplinary action.

 

My workplace is open again BUT…

 

I have returned from abroad and am now in 14-day quarantine.

 

What should I do?

 

You can work from home if that is possible.

 

If working from home is not possible, you would have to take the time as unpaid leave or perhaps a further period of annual leave.

 

This absence would not qualify as sick leave, so there would be no entitlement to SSP.

My workplace is open again BUT…

 

I am not sick, but my employer has asked me to stay away from work for a period of time as a precautionary measure.

 

What should I do?

 

Since your employer has made the decision not to allow you to go to the workplace, you are entitled to full pay, UNLESS:

·       Your contract states that your employer has the right to lay you off without pay in these circumstances

·       There is no work for you to do and you agree with your employer that you can be furloughed (if eligible).

·       You have been told to work from home if feasible

·       You have agreed to take annual leave.

 

If you have any questions or need support, contact us or book an appointment, where our team will be happy to help. Free, impartial and confidential advice at the East Dunbartonshire Citizens Advice Bureau.

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