Last Sunday (May 10th) Boris Johnson announced that some employees will be working again this week.
The divide has sparked outrage among unions and workers worried about coronavirus infection.
Some have refused to enter under section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.
What is section 44?
Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 applies to every employee, but not to self-employed entrepreneurs. If an employee believes that there is a “serious or immediate danger” to their health and others in the area, they may refuse to work on the grounds of Section 44.
They could refuse to work by staying at home, leaving work, or not doing certain tasks.
We speak to lawyer Matthew Chandler, lawyer A city office to find out what to do when employees are not coming to work.
What if an employee refuses to return to work based on section 44?
Employers should be aware that they are committed to creating a safe work environment for workers.
You should consider a coronavirus-specific risk assessment. The government has given guidelines to employers, such as keeping a distance of two meters.
Employers should already have done a thorough risk assessment. It might also be worth checking your written health and safety guidelines. You should have one if you have more than five employees. They should also assess whether they can provide safety equipment for employees.
In order to:
- Did you do a risk assessment?
- Have you spoken to your employees about the measures taken?
- Have you thought about creative ways to adapt the workplace so that it is safe for the employees?
We’ll see a lot more complaints in section 44. It’s difficult for employers – it doesn’t dictate what is expected. In short, employees shouldn’t expect disadvantages if they raise awareness of health and safety concerns to the employer.
Failure to handle the matter carefully may result in claims for constructive or unjustified dismissal. The law will test the employee’s belief. Coronavirus is sufficient to be classified as a danger and a reason for not returning to work.
> See also: Checklist for Health and Safety for Small Business: 9 Things You Must Do
Employers were briefly informed of the reopening after the Prime Minister’s announcement. What if you didn’t have time to do a risk assessment?
Yes – some employers only received 24 hours. However, in most cases, employers should do risk assessments fairly regularly anyway. Corona virus has been around for months. You should have seen this as a problem when employees come back sometime. Employees may not return until the employer has completed this risk assessment.
If you haven’t done so yet, employers should consider whom to invite to work and whether it’s safe.
What if an employer could not access his job, if we were more strictly blocked to make a more accurate judgment?
I think they should have done some kind of risk assessment at the start of the outbreak. If you were unable to perform a risk assessment during the closure because you did not have access to your building, your security standard is based on reasonable grounds.
Would you like to do what you expect your employees to do?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will carry out random checks to ensure that jobs are safe for personnel. What would happen if they saw the conditions in a work environment as “unreasonable”?
If a sample is taken and your job is not safe and you cannot say that you have taken appropriate measures, the HSE may apply a penalty.
If the employer has no means of providing safety equipment, is it safe for an employee to return to work? It is up to the employer and the employee.
An employer needs to keep his balance by keeping his doors closed and trying to create a safer work environment for workers. It is not unique and different for every company.
How to open your small business again after the block – what we know so far
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