Employment issues

Quite a lot of queries were received today about workplaces so I will try my best to offer some general advice. This is not legal advice but an attempt to address some of the general questions raised with me.

My start point is that if you are in a trade union check what your union is saying, and get them to speak to your managers. The unions also have useful advice on their websites.

It is clear that the UK Government are saying the ‘stay at home’ order does not close all workplaces.

There are specific types of workplaces that are closed (eg pubs, cinemas, gyms). On Monday the stay at home order extended this to places like non-food shops.

There are clearly a range of essential services that we will all require in the period ahead. So utilities workers come to mind, as do gas engineers, transport work etc.

I am aware that this leaves a range of other factories, construction sites and workplaces that are now giving rise to a number of queries.

From reading the available advice it is clear that if you, or someone in your home, is vulnerable then you need to avoid work so that social distancing can be achieved and to protect your family. I think that you should always discuss the need to stay at home with your employer.

Within workplaces the social distance rule (2 metre rule) should be maintained, and if that is not possible then your employer has a responsibility to protect you, and to help us all fight this virus. I fully recognise that this may create a tension which in truth remains unresolved by guidance at this point.

Economy Minister Ken Skates said today

“Finally, we would once again urge employers across the public, third and private sector to prioritise the health and wellbeing of their employees during this challenging period”.

There is a moral and health obligation on employers. Don’t give cause to regret what you do.

What pay do I get if I self-isolate?

As things stand today SSP is what people receive if they self isolate. The UK Government are to change the rules so it is payable from day one (not day 4).

Members of your family may become eligible for matters like free school meals if your reach the eligibility criteria.

I understand that SSP may be new for many people and the level of pay a surprise! The UK Government has been asked to review the rates (or make some other form of payment. We await their decisions on this).

 

So that is my best attempt to advise where we stand at this moment. The guidance is changing all the time. We face an unprecedented challenge and I will post further information if available.

There is a bottom line in the public health advice – Stay at Home – Help our NHS – Save Lives.

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