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Coronavirus and employee rights

As Coronavirus (Covid-19) spreads around the World, there is much uncertainty for both employers and employees as to what the future may hold.

It is important for businesses to carry on running to keep afloat so they can continue to support their employees, but with the Government issuing advice to everyone to practice social distancing, and more strict measures in place for those deemed most vulnerable due to their health, age or pregnancy, what does this all mean in reality?

The Government has deemed those who are either over 70, have underlying health issues or are pregnant as being the most vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19.

If you do fall into one of these categories and are classed as vulnerable, what can you expect from your employer?

The starting point is to notify your employer that you believe you are at risk and to work together to find a way in which you can carry on your duties safely.

Coronavirus – employee rights

Are you able to work from home?

Government advice to all, but particularly those in the vulnerable groups, is to work from home if you can. Of course for many jobs, this simply isn’t possible and the arrangement is only likely to work for those who have a desk job as well as having the technology to support working from home.

Will working from home due to the Coronavirus affect my salary?

Working from home should have no impact on your salary if you can comfortably carry on your role from home, maintain your hours and keep in contact with your employer.

Coronavirus – employee rights – my employer has told me I can’t work from home

If for any reason your employer refuses your request to work from home, what can be done?

Firstly, you should arrange a meeting with your employers to explain your particular vulnerability and how you think you can make working from home a viable option. If your employer still refuses your request and you have been employed for over 26 weeks by the company, you could make a formal working request which can only be declined on specific grounds and if they continue to refuse, consider bringing a formal grievance.

Coronavirus – employee rights – what are my rights if I can’t work from home?

Many jobs cannot be done from home, either due to the nature of the role, or because the company does not have the technology to allow work from home.

In these cases, other options should be considered, such as a variation to your work hours to allow you to work when fewer colleagues are around or moving you to a different area of the business where you will come into contact with fewer people.

What about self-isolation?

If you do not feel able to continue working due to your vulnerabilities, you would be classified as self-isolating within the meaning of the new Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020. This would mean that you would be entitled to receive statutory sick pay.

Need more help with your Coronavirus employee rights?

This information is correct as at 20 March 2020. This is a fast moving situation, if your employment is affected or likely to be affected, our law firm members are available to provide initial free guidance.

Email or find your closest Brain Injury Group employment specialists on our website –

With thanks to Brain Injury Group member firm Ashtons Legal for their assistance with this article.

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