The coronavirus crisis has sadly impacted upon the number, range and depth of employment issues that many people are experiencing across the UK.
Most employers and employees are trying to do their best in very difficult times, however it is clear that current circumstances are giving rise to challenging issues including but not limited to:
- Redundancy, Pay and Sickness pay
- Health and Safety related to physical safety, (protective equipment, working hours, equipment provision and muscular skeletal problems)
- Health and Safety (both physical and mental health)
- Childcare and parental leave/Maternity/paternity worker’s rights
- Disability Equality and Racial Equality
- Bullying and Harassment
- Unfair Dismissal
Although the current situation is affecting everyone in some way, you are unfortunately more likely to be negatively affected if you have a health condition, a disability, you are a carer, or you are from a minority background.
It is important to consider seeking legal advice and emotional or psychological support where you can, relating to your own circumstances.
Whilst balances may need to be struck, employers have a duty to make reasonable health and safety provision for employees, and although this may be challenging to meet in these times; health and safety legislation, employment law legislation and Equality Act legislation all still stand (with some recent revisions mainly regarding sickness pay and furloughing).
Where can I go for advice?
- In the first instance, if you feel you can, try and speak to your employer, (or HR or occupational health departments if your organisation has them).
- Check your contract, employer policies or handbook, and new government legislation, which can be found here to see if it covers your particular issue.
- Also do speak to your trade union if you are a member of one. It can also be worth seeking independent employment advice and guidance on employment law.
- There are several organisations offering free online and telephone advice and resources regarding your employment rights. These include:
The Disability Law Service: https://dls.org.uk
Citizens Advice Bureau: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk
HMRC Statutory Disputes Payment Team – Statutory Sick Pay: Call: 03000 560630
Legal Advice Clinics e.g. http://law-school.open.ac.uk/open-justice/get-legal-advice
If you need further advice from an employment solicitor to help explain your options, check your home insurance policy to see if it provides employment law cover or consider contacting: