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Coronavirus: Returning Back To Work

“My workplace is open again, but….”

Concerned about coronavirus and returning to work? As restrictions ease and more workplaces open up again, know where you stand and how to keep yourself safe at work. Here we answer some of your questions. But if you have any further concerns, please contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau. Residents of East Dunbartonshire can contact us here.

My workplace is open again, but I am required to isolate at home. What should I do?

If you are required to isolate at home, for example if you have symptoms of COVID-19, you have tested positive, or you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, follow the latest Scottish Government guidance from Test and Protect.

You may be able to work from home, if you feel well enough to do so. If this isn’t possible, you may be entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) or company sick pay. If you receive reduced earnings from isolating, you may be eligible for a self-isolation support grant. Check what benefits and grants you can claim.

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 need time off to take care of someone. What should I do?

You are allowed unpaid emergency time off to arrange care for dependants, such as a sick relative or a child off school. This is usually limited to one or two days and 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, working flexibly, or being placed on furlough. Please note that it is entirely up to the employer to decide who is furloughed and for how long. You could also take any holiday pay due to you, or ask for an extended period of unpaid leave. Further advice.

My workplace is open again, 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 must carry out risk assessments to ensure that workplaces are safe for employees to return.

Government advice is still to work from home wherever possible. But 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 still refuse to go to work, you could be subject to disciplinary action for unauthorised absence.

However, if you feel your employer has not dealt with a safety issue, talk to your local Citizens Advice Bureau, who can advise on the next steps to take. Further advice.

Contact us

If you need any help or guidance, please contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau. Residents of East Dunbartonshire can contact us here for employment advice on a wide range of issues. Including your concerns about returning to work during the coronavirus pandemic. We can also check if you are entitled to any benefits or grants. Please get in touch for a friendly, impartial chat today.

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