I work in retail and my company says it’s starting to look at how we might reopen later in the summer. This is making me so anxious, even though I don’t have any special health issues. I’m going to wear a mask, but not all the customers may do so. I used to take the bus to work, I don’t have a car and I think it’s too far to cycle. And I’m not even sure if my kids will be back at school by then! The thought of returning to work is keeping me awake at night. Do I have to go back to work?
It’s understandable that you’re feeling anxious. However, the short answer to your question is yes, you do need to comply with any reasonable management request to return to work.
The key here is “reasonable.” The government has published specific guidance for different businesses on the steps they can take to minimise coronavirus transmission. If you don’t think they’re complying, or are putting your health at risk, you should talk to them about this. If you are a member of a trade union, you can also raise your concerns with them.
Similarly, your employer should listen to your concerns about using public transport. You could, for instance, ask to travel at a quieter time of day.
The government has said that if you’re unable to work because of childcare issues your employer can continue to furlough you.
We would suggest approaching this as a problem that you and your boss can solve together. But if you do get a bad reaction, you could report your employer to the Health and Safety Executive. You should also get advice about your legal rights in this situation.
For further help and support visit: www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Look out for our next column when we focus on the furlough scheme.
The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. For the most up-to-date information, please visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk