COVID-19 and your job: The Week in Review
If you have read all the posts this week then, besides to be congratulated on your stamina, you will know we have covered a lot of ground.
On Monday we looked at Health and Safety and stressed the importance of an employer’s obligation not just to carry out a risk assessment but to implement appropriate risk mitigation measures.
Recognising that your health and safety is paramount, the law offers some protection in that it will be an unlawful dismissal if you are sacked because you leave or refuse to go to work on account of a reasonable fear for your safety.
Our recommendation however is that you aim to discuss your concerns with your employers and with colleagues before taking such a drastic step.
If you have not read this yet you can do so here.
Next we look at the basics of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (aka the Furlough Scheme). Under the scheme employers can claim up to 80% of your salary up to a maximum of £2,500pcm (and some on costs) if they send you home from work and you do no work.
Importantly, they cannot generally force you to be furloughed nor can they unilaterally refuse to pay you the missing 20% (or more). Both measures will usually need your consent.
The risk however is that if you refuse you may lose the job completely and it may be difficult to get compensation because the dismissal may well be regarded as fair in these unprecedented times.
If you missed this piece you can catch up with it here.
Having explained that you don’t have to consent to furloughing and other changes to your terms of employment, it was only right to explore what you can do if you don’t agree. So we did this on Wednesday.
In a nutshell there are several potential remedies but it is important to recognise none is without risk or cost. Breaking the terms of an agreement is serious but so too is taking action about it.
Remind yourself of the detail here.
Finally, only yesterday, we explored some more complex issues around furloughing including how it interacts with sick pay, holiday and redundancy.
As these issues do not lend themselves to a brief summary please check the details here.
If there is a single point to take way from all the posts, it is (predictably perhaps; we are lawyers after all) is that if you have worries then you should get some advice. This is especially important if you are considering taking major steps such as resigning from work or taking legal action. There are all sorts of challenges and implications so do not rush into anything.
Looking ahead, we have two propositions for you. First, as promised in the accompanying videos, we are working on collating a note of the questions we’ve received about the issues we’ve discussed and other points arising from the furlough scheme. We will publish this shortly so please check back or email us if you’d like to be sent a copy.
Secondly, the coronavirus has impacted on all aspects of our lives and so, besides advice on employment issues, many people may be seeking advice on other areas. We thought it would be helpful to flag some sources of reliable (and generally free) advice on many topics.
For straightforward advice on a host of relevant issues visit the Citizens’ Advice pages here.
For links to other sources of advice from an organisation which specialises in helping individuals get to grips with legal issues, visit the Advice Now (part of Law for Life) here.
For advice specifically geared towards the elderly visit Age UK here.
And finally, but perhaps most importantly of all, because isolating may not be as safe it should be for everyone, if you need help with domestic abuse Refuge has advice here.
Thanks for reading our posts and stay safe.
For more information please contact Nick Hanning – email@example.com
*Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*