Coronavirus (COVID-19) and your rights at work

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and your rights at work
17 May 2021

The world is facing a health crisis with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and every workplace has to help fight it. As an employee, it is your right to be kept as safe as possible.

Indeed, the law is on your side, as it has rules that your employer must follow to protect and support you throughout this difficult time.

Why should I worry about my workplace?

  • COVID-19 is passed through little droplets of fluid from an infected person if he/she sneezes or coughs.
  • It can be passed either by close contact or by touching a surface which an infected person sneezed or coughed on.
  • Your employer has to ensure that your workplace is sanitised and that people keep socially distanced from each other.

What if I don’t understand what the COVID-19 virus is?

Your employer is expected to give all employees accurate information about the virus, including symptoms and ways to help prevent getting it.

What must I do if I think I might have COVID-19 or am at risk of getting it?

  • Every workplace must come up with a set of processes on how to deal with employees who get the virus, or who might be a risk after having come into contact with someone who is infected.
  • This plan needs to be communicated to all staff.
  • You have to be given a set way of how to inform your work, if you suspect you are in this situation.
  • Your employer should also inform and assist where possible with directing you to get the correct medical help.
  • Your employer cannot force you to work if you have the virus or think you might genuinely be at risk of getting the virus after contact with an infected person.

Is my work space safe?

  • Your employer must provide hand sanitisers such as soap and water and disinfectants such as waterless hand sanitiser.
  • Workplace spaces must also be cleaned very carefully and special equipment should be provided to ensure this takes place.
  • You should also be given any necessary protective clothing or coverings based on what kind of work you do.
  • You should avoid as much as possible using any shared spaces such as kitchens. If you need to use shared equipment such as telephones and photocopiers, your employer should provide disinfectants to wipe down the surfaces between each use.
  • Where possible you should rearrange your work space to keep a two metre distance from other workers.
  • If you have an occupational health and safety committee at work, you can ask for an emergency meeting to be held about the COVID-19 situation.
  • Your employer should also train all employees about any of these workplace changes.

What about working from home?

  • If it is possible for your type of work, you should find out if you can work from home, or change your duties so that you have less physical contact with other people.
  • If you are working from home, your employer must give you a clear set of expectations of this process including working hours and tasks requiring completion.
  • You must also discuss and agree on how any extra costs, such as needing internet data, will be paid.

With Legal&Tax you’re not alone

Remember Legal&Tax is your companion during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Contact us for expert advice about the labour laws and your rights during this difficult time. We are in this together and want to help you keep safe and make sure you are treated fairly at work.

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Article sourced from Legal&Tax.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
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