Attending Work

COVID-19: Should You Be Going To Work?

Following the PM’s announcement on Monday 23rd March about staying at home (click here for the Government’s instruction) some members are asking whether they are permitted to go to work.
Our Advice

The Government is placing great emphasis on people working from home, if they possibly can, but members who aren’t vulnerable, cannot reasonably refuse to go to work if their employers insist on them coming in.

The key question is, can the work you do be undertaken from home?

1. If ‘Yes’, there is obviously a very strong argument that you should be allowed to work from home. If your employer is still insisting that you come to work, for no good reason, please contact the Advice Team immediately on 01234 716005 (choose Option 1).

2. If the answer is ‘No’, then as it stands, you will need to go to work. If you are particularly concerned, it is important to discuss how you are feeling with us and your line manager. It might be possible to find an alternative, such as taking annual leave or a period of unpaid leave. Please call us on 01234 716005 (choose Option 1).
Social Distancing At Work

The social distancing rules must be observed whilst at work, so people are expected to maintain a distance of at least 2m. If that’s not being observed in your workplace, please contact us on 01234 716005 (choose Option 1).

In his briefing on 24th March 2020, Matt Hancock (Health Secretary) confirmed that those who cannot work from home should go to work “to keep the country running”.

“The judgment we have made is that in work, in many instances, the 2m rule can be applied. Where possible, people should work from home and employers have a duty to ensure that people are more than 2m apart.”.

Key Workers

Key Workers will need to continue to go to work unless self-isolating, or the school is refusing to care for children, in which case people will need to rely on emergency leave until the issue is resolved.

If you believe that you are a ‘Key Worker’ and are entitled to place your children as school, but the school is refusing to accept your children, please call us on 01234 716005 (choose Option 1) for further advice. Where necessary, the Union will involve itself in helping members enforce their rights with schools.
For further advice on Key Workers, please click here.
Vulnerable People

Whilst we accept that this is a highly challenging time for both employers and the staff who are working extremely hard to keep businesses open in difficult circumstances, vulnerable staff should be given the protection they need and be allowed to remain at home, on full pay.

If you’re classed as vulnerable (click here for the Government’s list of people who are vulnerable) and you’re being asked to attend work, you should contact the Advice Team, who will be able to give you specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We have created a clear plan of action for dealing with vulnerable members and we’ll be able to talk you through the steps you need to take.

For further advice on vulnerable people, please click here. 
Updated Guidance – Keeping You Informed

You might feel confused by information from different sources, which is hardly surprising. The Government is clearly doing a good job in very difficult circumstances but announcements are being made ahead of full guidance being provided, leaving news media to interpret what the Government plans. If the Government publishes further guidance, we will let you know as soon as possible.

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