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Advice from the TUC (please check the TUC website for updates)

It is recommended that unions request a policy from the employer as soon as possible, which outlines what will happen in cases of illness or isolation. Referring to other employers’ best practise may help make your case.

Some case studies on the importance of union organisation:

Union recognition in the workplace is making a difference. For example, Greggs, an employer which recognises the Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU), agreed early on to pay all its workers full pay during isolation. By contrast Wetherspoons, which has thus far failed to formally recognise the BFAWU, has refused to do the same and is treating coronavirus as any other illness.

Certain contract workers employed by G4S, Interserve, Hermes as well as contractors ISS and Sodexo have all been guaranteed full pay in case of self-isolation thanks to the GMB union’s efforts - with Hermes setting aside a £1m support fund for its 15,000 couriers.

Your rights at work:

  • Workers have a right to be safe at work, wherever they work and whatever they do. Coronavirus does not change this
  • There are existing laws which already protect workers: It's a legal requirement, under the Health and Safety at Work Regulations Act 1974, for bosses to carry out a workplace risk assessment
  • Employers must enable extremely vulnerable workers in the shielded category to observe NHS advice, and protect other vulnerable or pregnant workers
  • Employees have the right to leave work under Section 44 of the Employment Act 1996 if there is “serious or imminent danger"
  • It is important that you seek advice and support on taking action: raise concerns with your union and employer first
  • The law also protects you from being victimised if, after raising concerns and seeking advice, the danger persists and you decide to leave work


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Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC)


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