Coronavirus In UK: What Are Your Rights At Work?

By: evelyn | Date: 2021-02-12

Coronavirus has outreached almost every part of the world. But some countries have been affected severely. The UK is among those countries where the Coronavirus has affected millions of lives. The UK government is taking every possible step to ensure people are safe. But workplaces are a pitfall for this deadly virus where workers are easy prey for it. If you are also working in the UK, you may be at a high risk of getting COVID-19. To keep yourself safe, it’s best to know about your rights at work during the time of Coronavirus.

Can you take leave from office during the coronavirus? Can you work from home? What are your employer’s duties to keep yourself safe from getting COVID? Can you get furlough during coronavirus? Can your employer force you to work? We are here to unfold these questions one by one and have a detailed look at your rights at work during the age of Coronavirus in the UK. Let’s get started from the nitty-gritty.

Can You Work From Home During COVID-19?

Work from home is when you tell your employer that you will be completing your work but without coming to the office. During the coronavirus, hundreds and thousands of companies have adopted work from home strategy to reduce the spread of this virus at workplaces. But after the mid-2020, the lockdown was relaxed and work from home was reduced.

However, if you are clinically vulnerable, the government of the UK advises you to work from home. Give your health the top priority and get your employer’s permission to complete your work without coming to work. By doing so, you can not only protect yourself against this deadly virus but your colleagues can also work safely.

Can I Get Furlough During Coronavirus?

First, let’s know what furlough means. Furlough is basically an unpaid leave of absence. To put simply, when you are on a furlough, you are still a company’s employer but you temporarily take unpaid leaves from the company. You actually cease your working for the employer when you are on a furlough.

If you have got the coronavirus or find yourself to be at risk of catching the virus, you should talk to your employer that they should furlough you. If they agree, you can take a break from work without losing your job.

Can I Get A Statutory Pay Leave (SSP) During COVID-19?

It is your right to get a furlough. But there are chances where your employer may not agree with you despite all your convincing tactics. If this is the situation, you might be able to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). You can also use your shielding letter to prove that you cannot go to work.

If you are injured at work and got sick where you can’t work for more than three full working days, you may be entitled to get a Statutory Sick Pay. Similarly, if you have been told to isolate for four days yourself due to the coronavirus, you can get an SSP.

You are eligible for the SSP irrespective of whether you are a full-time worker or work for part-time.

Can My Employer Force Me To Work During Coronavirus?

Under the current National Lockdown Rules in the UK, the Government is advising people to work from home. Under this condition, if you have the availability of working from home, then your employer cannot force you to come to the office for work.

There are some industries where workers can’t work from home. In such industries, it is the employer’s duty to compel workers to follow proper SOPs to avoid catching the Coronavirus. But still, if you feel endangered at work or you have been advised to shield yourself, you should take leave from the office and you can’t be compelled to attend office.

Can Your Employer Fire You For Shielding Yourself?

Health is your top priority and it should be. You should shield yourself and don’t go to work if you are likely to get the Coronavirus or you have been advised to isolate yourself. But some employers do fire their workers for not coming to work.

If this is the case where your employer fires you for not attending work, you have a legal right to make a claim for unfair dismissal. You can make your claim for unfair dismissal from work under Section 100(1)(d) or (e) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (“ERA”) of the UK.

Similarly, you cannot be sacked for making an accident at work claim against your employer.

What Are Your Employer’s Duties During the Coronavirus?

There are some sectors where work from home is not either feasible or possible. Construction sites, restaurants, hotels, and labs are a few noticeable examples. But the risk of getting COVID is pretty high in these workplaces. That is why the UK government has issued strict guidelines for employers. The duties of employers during COVID-19 in the UK include:

  • Minimising the unnecessary visits to the office
  • The staff should maintain 1m social distancing along with additional precautions
  • Frequent cleaning of objects, surfaces. and communal areas
  • Introducing one-way systems to minimise contact
  • Making sure that staff maintain 2m (6ft) social distancing
  • Using side-to-side or back-to-back working (instead of face-to-face) whenever possible
  • Extra handwashing facilities
  • Using face masks
  • Using barriers or screens between staff

All employers must follow these guidelines. Otherwise, legal action can be taken against them.

What If You Get Injured At Work In The UK During COVID-19?

If you get injured at work, you are still eligible to make an accident at work claim against your employer if you meet its eligibility criteria. If you know what to do after an accident at work, you may be eligible to make an injury at work claim. Plus, you should also know about your rights after an injury at work.

Lawswood Claims is here to help you make an accident at work claim against your employer. If you have been injured at work, get connected to us, we are here to cater to everything on your behalf and make a successful injury at work claim against your employer.

Rights At Work In UK Coronavirus
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