Will Waverley’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau, based in Godalming will be putting its advisors on a crash course on the Employment Rights Act following Boris Johnson’s announcement last night?
They can be contacted here: Citizens Advice Waverley
Here’s Waverley’s Deputy Leader Paul Follows take, so far….
Following the announcements tonight I have already had residents ask me if they are going to be forced to go into work tomorrow or soon even if it isn’t safe?
All asking if could they be fired or their pay cut if they do not come in when they are told to.
Let’s just look at the law:
➡️ Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 provides employees with the right not to suffer a detriment or be dismissed for refusing to work in circumstances where they believe they would be in serious and imminent danger. It provides employees with the ‘right’ to withdraw from and to refuse to return to a workplace that is unsafe. Employees are entitled to remain away from the workplace (e.g. stay at home) if — in their opinion — the prevailing circumstances represent a real risk of serious and imminent danger which they could not be expected to avert.
Safety needs to come before profit but CLARITY needs to come before even that.
Please don’t panic.
Lots of this messaging from government was clearly a bit last minute tonight and as soon as I have the guidance and the detail (that surely has to come with this) I can comment further.
We know from past announcements that we will now get several days of ‘clarification’. I would advise local business to wait for that too. Let’s hope we get that?
Work – (if you can’t work from home) and only if it is safe to do so (and also safe to get to) was the one bit I did (sort of) get from this. Who defines what ‘safe’ is and how that is policed are but two of my questions.
The statement was also (in my opinion) detached from the reality of life for most low-income workers regarding how people travel to and from work and their employment situation in general. Many will also have members of their families who are shielded.
Please let me know if you have any concerns about this, and especially if you have concerns about your working arrangements. I know Waverley Citizens Advice will be a good place to call too on this one.
STAYING HOME and staying safe is still the mantra I will be following for as long as I can. I am also not entirely sure how I can stay any more ‘alert’ than I am. Diluting that message at this stage (in my personal view) is putting the economy over peoples’ lives.
Further updates to come when (and if) we get that much needed clarity.
Cllr Paul Follows
Deputy Leader, Waverley Borough Council