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Home Advice for Parents & CarersCoronavirus (COVID-19) Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Return to work and health and safety

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Return to work and health and safety

Last updated 4 June 2020.

*PLEASE FOLLOW ANY GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE, AS GUIDANCE ON THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) IS CHANGING DAILY*

You might also want to look at our other coronavirus pages:

Furlough

I am currently on furlough. Can my employer make me return to work?

Your employer can ask you to return to work. Unfortunately, you do not have a right to be furloughed – your employer can refuse to furlough you. However, if you do not want to return to work, there are a number of arguments you can make to your employer.

Check the written agreement with your employer. When you were furloughed, your employer should have confirmed this in writing. You should check this written confirmation carefully – it may have been a letter, or an email. Does it say, for example, that you are furloughed for as long as you are unable to work because of your care commitments? Or that you are furloughed as long as you are shielding? You should make sure that your employer is acting in a way which is consistent with this written confirmation. Otherwise, they could be in breach of contract for forcing you to return to work.

If you have been on furlough for less than 3 weeks, you should point out to your employer that they will not be able to claim back 80% of your wages from the government before the end of the 3-week furlough period. You must be on furlough for at least three weeks for your employer to be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

If you have been furloughed because you or someone else in your household is shielding, you should point out to your employer that the reason you were furloughed has not been removed. Government guidance is that if you have received a letter from the NHS or been told to shield by your GP, you should stay inside for 12 weeks. We are still in this 12-week period, so you should stay at home.

You should also point out that the government’s guidance is still that you should stay home wherever possible.

If you have been furloughed because of care commitments, you should point out to your employer that the reason you were furloughed has not been removed. The schools are still closed, and ordinary care provision is still suspended in many places.

You should also point out that the government’s guidance is still that you should stay home wherever possible. 

The Prime Minister has been asked about parents who are asked to return to work, but have no childcare. On 13 May at Prime Minister’s Questions, he said: “in so far as people may not be able to go back to work because they do not have the childcare that they need, their employers must be understanding. As I said, it is clearly an impediment and a barrier to people’s ability to go back to work if they do not have childcare.” He has promised to look into this. You should point out to your employer that they have been told to be reasonable in asking you to return to work.

If your employer refuses to keep you on furlough, you may be able to take annual leave, or some kind of special leave. You should check your employer’s policies on this.

You may also be able to take a form of unpaid leave, such as time off for dependants or parental leave. See our FAQ on ‘Am I allowed time off work if I have to care for my children (who are now off school) or someone else who depends on me?’.

The government’s advice is that businesses and workplaces should make every possible effort to enable working from home as a first option. Where working from home is not possible, your employer should make every effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government.

If you are worried about your safety in returning to work, remember that your employer has a duty to protect your health and safety at work. If you do not feel safe returning work, you could refuse to work until these concerns are addressed. It is important that you inform your employer as soon as possible in writing why you are not coming into work. If you do not do so, they could treat your absence as unauthorised.

If you do return to work, your employer should follow government guidance on social distancing in the workplace. This ‘working safely during coronavirus’ guidance is specific to each sector. You should check this government guidance to make sure that your employer is complying with it.

Template letters: If your employer is asking you to return to work and you have concerns about your health and safety, you can use our template letter for employees and letter for workers (depending on your employment status) to raise your concerns and discuss staying off work.

Childcare

I have been asked to return to work, but because the schools are still closed, I have no childcare. What can I do?

You may be able to be furloughed or to take time off work, including time off for dependants, parental leave, annual leave or some other form of leave. See our FAQs your employment rights and coronavirus here, in particular the question ‘Am I allowed time off work if I have to care for my children (who are now off school) or someone else who depends on me?’. 

Template letters: If your employer is asking you to return to work and you cannot return to work for childcare reasons, you can use our template letter for employees and letter for workers (depending on your employment status) to raise your concerns and discuss staying off work.

Health and safety

I am scared to return to work in case I catch coronavirus. What should my employer do to keep me safe?

The government’s advice is that businesses and workplaces should make every possible effort to enable working from home as a first option. Where working from home is not possible, workplaces should make every effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government.

If your employer is asking you to come into work because you cannot work from home, it is important to point out that your employer has a duty to protect your health and safety. One key way your employer can show that they are protecting your health and safety is by following the government guidance on working safely during coronavirus, which is specific to each sector. You should check this guidance carefully, to make sure that your employer is following it. This guidance applies across the UK, but in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, it should be considered alongside local public health and safety requirements.

Your employer must follow a number of steps to keep you safe at work. These are:

  1. assess the risks of coronavirus in your workplace by conducting a Covid-19 Risk Assessment, in consultation with workers and any unions;
  2. set up a system to minimise or eliminate these risks;
  3. implement these systems (it is not enough to set up a system, the employer must also follow through with it). For example, they have to have a policy of hand washing, but also provide enough sinks, hot water and soap; and
  4. review these systems regularly to ensure that they work.

Your employer should share their Covid-19 Risk Assessment with you.

There are many measures your employer can take to keep you safe at work. These will depend on your job and your workplace, but may include:

  • Ensuring good ventilation in the workplace
  • Staggering working hours and shifts, so that fewer people are in the workplace at any one time, and employees avoid rush hour on public transport
  • Adding floor markings and signage to implement social distancing
  • Setting up screens or barriers between workers
  • Instructing employees to wash their hands as often as possible, for at least 20 seconds (and provide soap and hot water)
  • Regularly deep cleaning the workplace

If social distancing cannot be followed in full when carrying out a certain activity, your employer has to consider whether this activity is necessary for the business to operate. If it is, then they have to take all possible actions to reduce the risk of coronavirus when employees are carrying out this activity. Remember, your employer has to ensure the safety of its employees as far as is reasonably practicable. 

If you are afraid of catching coronavirus, your employer may agree to let you take some leave so that you do not have to come into work. Your employer may be willing to agree for you to take annual leave, unpaid parental leave, a sabbatical or other period of leave. You would need to check how long the leave could last and if the leave would be paid or unpaid.

Alternatively, if you do not want to come into work because your employer is not following the government guidance on social distancing, see the questions below (‘If I think my workplace is unsafe because of coronavirus, do I have to go to work?‘).

If you need further advice on what benefits you could claim during this time, we have a webpage on financial support for families whose income is affected by coronavirus.

Template letters: If your employer is asking you to return to work and you have concerns about your health and safety, you can use our template letter for employees and letter for workers (depending on your employment status) to raise your concerns and discuss staying off work.

My employer is not following the government’s guidance on social distancing at work. What can I do?

If your employer is not complying with their health and safety obligations, they could be in breach of your employment contract (specifically, the mutual duty of trust and confidence). You could use this argument to try to negotiate a period of paid leave until your employer has complied with the government’s guidance on working safely during coronavirus. This guidance applies across the UK, but in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, it should be considered alongside local public health and safety requirements.

If you think that your employer’s failure to follow the guidance means there is a serious and imminent danger if you go to work, you can refuse to go to work. See the question below (‘If I think my workplace is unsafe because of Coronavirus, do I have to go to work?‘)

Template letters: If your employer is asking you to return to work and you have concerns about your health and safety, you can use our template letter for employees and letter for workers (depending on your employment status) to raise your concerns and discuss staying off work.

If I think my workplace is unsafe because of Coronavirus, do I have to go to work?

Remember, the government’s advice is that businesses and workplaces should make every possible effort to enable working from home as a first option. Where working from home is not possible, workplaces should make every effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government.

If you think that your workplace is unsafe because of the risk of coronavirus, you may not have to go to work in this case. If you reasonably believe that the threat to your health is serious and imminent, then you can refuse to go to work. Your employer cannot treat you unfavourably or dismiss you for doing so.

This protection from being treated unfavourably or being dismissed comes from sections 44 and 100 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. It applies to employees, and potentially workers (the Act only refers to ’employees’, but EU case law suggests workers could also protected by this right). It applies regardless of how long you have been working for your employer.

Whether coronavirus is a “serious and imminent” danger will depend on your particular role and workplace, but in many cases, it is likely to meet this definition. The government announced on 10 February 2020 that coronavirus is a serious and imminent threat to public health. This does not mean coronavirus is always a serious and imminent danger, but it is a helpful argument to make to your employer.

Whether coronavirus is a “serious and imminent danger” may also depend on how much your employer is complying with the government’s guidance on working safely during coronavirus. If they are complying with the all the relevant guidance, it is less likely that it is reasonable for you to believe there is a serious and imminent danger. However, even if your employer is complying with all the guidance, it is still possible that you could reasonably believe it is too dangerous for you to go into work. For example, you may have an underlying health condition which makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus, or you might live with someone who has such a condition. The danger does not have to be to you as the employee – it can be to “others”, including members of the public.

If you refuse to go to work because you think there is a serious and imminent danger from coronavirus, you should tell your employer this in writing. You should explain in detail why you think it is not safe for you to come into work, including any steps you think your employer has failed to take to protect you. You could refer to the government’s guidance on working safely during coronavirus, if your employer is not following this guidance. Note that this guidance applies across the UK, but in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, it should be considered alongside local public health and safety requirements.

If your employer is not complying with their health and safety obligations, they could be in breach of your employment contract (specifically, the mutual duty of trust and confidence). You could use this argument to try to negotiate a period of paid leave until your employer has complied with the government’s guidance on working safely during coronavirus.

Template letters: If your employer is asking you to return to work and you have concerns about your health and safety, you can use our template letter for employees and letter for workers (depending on your employment status) to raise your concerns and discuss staying off work.

I have to get public transport to work, but I am scared of catching Coronavirus on my commute. What can I do?

In its Plan to Rebuild, the government says that “when travelling everybody (including critical workers) should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible”.

The law on taking public transport to work is very unclear. If you think that your commute places you in serious and imminent danger because of coronavirus, you might be able to refuse to travel to and from work. 

However, it is currently not clear whether the “danger” in your commute allows you to refuse to come to work – usually (but not always!) the commute is not considered part of your working conditions for health and safety at work. It is unclear if the risk of coronavirus on public transport means that commuting could now be considered part of your working conditions. Employers might argue that it is impossible for them to control safety outside the workplace, and travel to work is normally the employee’s responsibility. There is no clear law on this point. In Edwards v Secretary of State for Justice [2014], employees could refuse to work because of the danger of travel to work. However, their employer was providing the transport in this case. It is still unclear whether travelling on public transport could be covered by this.

See the question ‘If I think my workplace is unsafe because of Coronavirus, do I have to go to work?’ above for more information on whether you could have a right to refuse to go to work.

If you are worried about your travel to work, you should speak to your employer and explain your concerns. They may be able to change your shifts to allow you to travel at quieter times, or offer you work closer to where you live, so that you can walk or cycle to work. The government have published guidance on safer travel during coronavirus, which may be helpful.

Template letters: If your employer is asking you to return to work and you have concerns about your health and safety, you can use our template letter for employees and letter for workers (depending on your employment status) to raise your concerns and discuss staying off work.

Can my employer dismiss me if I refuse to come to work because I’m worried about coronavirus?

Yes, your employer can dismiss you if you are not coming into work. Remember, you should always tell your employer in writing if you are planning not to come into work and explain why. Otherwise, it can be treated as an unauthorised absence, and your employer may discipline you.

However, if you refused to come to work because you reasonably believed there was a serious and imminent danger to yourself or others and it could not be controlled, and your employer dismissed you for this reason, then you may have a claim for automatic unfair dismissal (section 100 Employment Rights Act 1996). This means that you can bring a claim for unfair dismissal against your employer. You do not need to have worked for a minimum period of time for your employer (like you normally do for unfair dismissal), this is a day 1 right. There are strict time limits on bringing a claim in the Employment Tribunal. This is also a very serious step – you should seek legal advice if you are considering making a claim. There is more information on bringing a claim at the Employment Tribunal on our advice pages. If you are successful in a claim at the Employment Tribunal, you may receive compensation for non-payment of wages.

If you are not dismissed after refusing to come to work for this reason, but are punished in another way (for example, if you were disciplined or refused a promotion), this would also be unfair and unlawful. See the question below ‘Can my employer discipline me or refuse training or promotion if I refuse to come to work because I’m worried about coronavirus?

It is better to try to resolve issues with your employer informally, at an early stage. Explain in as much detail as you can why you do not feel safe coming into work, and what steps you think should be taken to make your workplace safer. You should tell your employer if your particular circumstances make it especially risky for you to be in work (for example, if you live with someone who is shielding, or you yourself are vulnerable to coronavirus). You can try to negotiate to work from home, or if this is impossible, to be furloughed if you are eligible. Otherwise, you might be able to take some kind of paid or unpaid leave. There is more information on these different options on our employment rights and coronavirus page.

Template letters: If your employer is asking you to return to work and you have concerns about your health and safety, you can use our template letter for employees and letter for workers (depending on your employment status) to raise your concerns and discuss staying off work.

Can my employer discipline me or refuse training or promotion if I refuse to come to work because I’m worried about coronavirus?

If you refused to come to work because you reasonably believed there was a serious and imminent danger to yourself or others and it could not be controlled, then it would be unlawful for your employer to treat you unfavourably as a result. Treating you “unfavourably” could mean a wide range of things, including refusing you a promotion, disciplining you, or giving you fewer hours of work (if you are on a contract with variable hours) when you return to work.

Protection from being treated unfavourably for refusing to come to work if you reasonably believe there is a serious and imminent danger comes from section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

If your employer has treated you unfavourably for being off work, and you had reason to believe that there was a serious and imminent risk to your health, then you may have a claim against them, but it depends very much on the facts (did you voice your concerns to your employer and give them a chance to provide you with a safer space to work? Did your employer follow government guidance on working safely during coronavirus?). Bringing a claim against your employer in the Employment Tribunal is a very serious step – you should seek legal advice if you are considering making a claim. You should consider the following steps before making a claim:

Try to resolve the issue with your employer informally: It’s always best to try to resolve workplace issues informally. You can explain in as much detail as you can why you do not feel safe coming into work, and what steps you think should be taken to make your workplace safer. You should tell your employer if your particular circumstances make it especially risky for you to be in work (for example, if you live with someone who is shielding, or you yourself are vulnerable to coronavirus).

You can try to negotiate to work from home, or if this is impossible, to be furloughed if you are eligible. Otherwise, you might be able to take some kind of paid or unpaid leave. There is more information on these different options on our employment rights and coronavirus page.

Template letters: If your employer is asking you to return to work and you have concerns about your health and safety, you can use our template letter for employees and letter for workers (depending on your employment status) to raise your concerns and discuss staying off work.

If your employer has already treated you unfairly for not coming to work, you can explain that you understand you should not be treated unfavourably for refusing to come to work. If you think it would be helpful, you can refer to section 44 of the Employment Rights Act.

Raise a grievance: If informal discussions with your employer do not help to resolve things, you could raise a grievance. Grievances risk antagonising your employer and should be avoided if at all possible, but in cases where informal discussions have failed, a grievance may be necessary. As above, you should outline in as much detail why you do not feel safe coming into work, and explain that you feel you have been treated unfavourably as a result of exercising your right not to go to work because there was a serious and imminent danger to your health. You can refer to section 44 of the Employment Rights Act, but you don’t have to. In your grievance, you should outline what actions you would like your employer to take to make it right. Read our page on grievances for more information.

If informal discussions or putting in a grievance does not work, then you could think about bringing claim against your employer. There are strict time limits on bringing a claim in the Employment Tribunal – normally 3 months from the date of the unfavourable treatment. And remember, bringing a claim against your employer is a very serious step and could risk irreparably damaging the working relationship. There is more information on bringing a claim at the Employment Tribunal on our advice pages. If you are successful in a claim at the Employment Tribunal, you may receive compensation for non-payment of wages.

Changes to employment terms

My employer wants to make changes to my pay / hours / working days when I come back to work. Can they do this?

Your employer can only change fundamental aspects of your employment contract, like your pay or your working hours, with your agreement. Your employer usually has to ask for your agreement (unless there is a collective agreement or union involved, see more below). You should look through any proposed changes carefully, and ask your employer to explain why they are making them.

If you agree with your employer’s proposed changes, you can tell them this. It is good practice to put this new agreement in writing. But bear in mind that this may change your employment contract permanently.

If you only want to agree to a temporary change in your contract (e.g. only for the duration of lockdown), you should make this clear to your employer. As above, you should make sure that this agreement is in writing, and that it says you only agree to the reduction in hours or pay for the duration of lockdown. Be careful about how you use ‘lockdown’ – you may want to check the government’s guidance on the different levels of ‘alert’ for coronavirus (See the government’s guidance on the different alert levels). Be as clear as you can.

If you don’t agree with your employer’s proposed changes, then you should make this clear to them. If you continue to go to work, you should say that you are doing so under protest, and that you do not accept the proposed changes. We have a sample letter of protest that you can use. You could try to negotiate a more acceptable change with your employer, for example, that works around your care commitments. You could also suggest a trial period to your employer, to see how well your proposed arrangement works.

There is more information on our advice pages here:

If your workplace has a collective agreement, they may be able to agree to a change on your behalf. You should seek further legal advice if this is the case.

Whistleblowing

If I complain about safety in my workplace, is this whistleblowing?

It depends. A complaint the safety of your workplace could be a ‘Protected Disclosure’. However, the law in this area is very complicated. If you want to know more about whistleblowing, you should contact the organisation Protect. They have more advice on coronavirus and whistleblowing on their website.

Shielding and vulnerable people

Do I have to go back to work if I live with a clinically extremely vulnerable person who is shielding?

Remember, the government’s advice is that you should work from home if this is possible. You should not have to go into work unless it is impossible for you to work from home. In its new guidance on working safely, the government says that particular attention should be paid to people who live with clinically extremely vulnerable people. 

You can ask your employer to furlough you if you cannot work because someone in your household is shielding. See our furlough page for more information.

You could argue that as your employer has a duty to protect your health and safety and if one of your ‘dependants’ (family members like children who live with you and need you) has a pre-existing condition which would make them very vulnerable to coronavirus, it would be a breach of your employment contract (more specifically, a breach of the mutual duty of trust and confidence) to force you to come to work. You could use this argument to attempt to negotiate paid leave, but we can’t guarantee that this would be successful.

 You may be able to take time off for dependants, parental leave, or annual leave. See our coronavirus and employment rights page for more information on the different types of leave you may be able to take (‘Am I allowed time off work if I have to care for my children (who are now off school) or someone else who depends on me?’).

You might be able to refuse to go back to work if you think it would expose you to a serious and imminent danger (this protection comes from sections 44 and 100 of the Employment Rights Act 1996). See the answer above (‘If I think my workplace is unsafe because of Coronavirus, do I have to go to work?’) for details. Remember, the serious and imminent danger doesn’t have to be to you as the employee – it could be to “others”, including members of the public in some cases. This might mean that you can refuse to work because of a serious imminent threat to someone in your household, but the law is not clear on this. Your employer, or the Employment Tribunal, might take a different view. So you should be cautious about using this argument.

Whether or not you have a right to refuse to go to work will depend very much on your individual situation. For example, is there anything you could do to reduce the risk to the person who is shielding, and still go to work (such as following the government advice on shielding from someone in your household)?

Template letters: If your employer is asking you to return to work and you have concerns about your health and safety, you can use our template letter for employees and letter for workers (depending on your employment status) to raise your concerns and discuss staying off work.

I have been told by the NHS to shield for 12 weeks. Can my employer make me return to work?

No, your employer should not be able to force you to return to work if you are shielding:

  • In the government’s guidance on working safely during coronavirus, it says that those who are extremely vulnerable are “strongly advised” not to work outside the home. Your employer should allow you to work from home, and re-allocate work or provide equipment to help you do so. The government has published specific guidance for employers in different sectors – see here for links to this sector-specific guidance.
  • This is likely to be a breach of your employer’s duty to protect your health and safety.
  • The protections of sections 44 and 100 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 are even more likely to apply if you are clinically extremely vulnerable. This allows you to refuse to come into work if you reasonably believe there is a serious and imminent danger (in this case, of catching coronavirus). See the question above (‘If I think my workplace is unsafe because of Coronavirus, do I have to go to work?’).
  • Under the Equality Act 2010, employers must not discriminate against disabled employees by subjecting them to a detriment or dismissing them. It is likely that if you are on the list of clinically extremely vulnerable people (i.e. if you have received a letter from the NHS telling you to shield for 12 weeks), your underlying condition means that you are ‘disabled’ under the Equality Act 2010. To force you to go back to work when you have been told to shield would be subjecting you to a detriment because of your disability. This is unlawful.

If you are ‘disabled’ under the Equality Act 2010, your employer has to make reasonable adjustments for you. In the current situation, this could include allowing you to work from home, or, if your work cannot be done from home, transferring you to another role where this is possible. 

If you were employed before 19 March 2020, you are eligible to be furloughed, according to the guidance issued by HMRC. See our webpage on furlough for more information.

If your employer refuses to furlough you, you could be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, currently paid at £95.85 a week. See the question on sick pay on our page on coronavirus and employment rights

There is more information on work and employment for those who are shielding in the government’s guidance on shielding.

Template letters: If your employer is asking you to return to work and you have concerns about your health and safety, you can use our template letter for employees and letter for workers (depending on your employment status) to raise your concerns and discuss staying off work.

According to government guidance, I am ‘clinically vulnerable’. Do I have to go to work?

There is a difference between being ‘clinically vulnerable’, and being ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’:

  • Clinically vulnerable people are listed on government guidance here. This includes people over 70, pregnant people, and people with some underlying conditions like diabetes. These people have not been told to shield for 12 weeks, but to take extra care to minimise contact with others outside their household.
  • Clinically extremely vulnerable people are those who have been told by the NHS to shield for 12 weeks.

If you are ‘clinically vulnerable’, you do not have to shield, and you can leave your house. However, your employer will still owe you a duty to protect your health and safety. They will still have to conduct a risk assessment, and take reasonable steps to make the workplace safe for you.

In the government’s guidance on working safely, it states that vulnerable people should be helped to work from home, either in their current role or in an alternative one. If this is not possible, they should be offered the safest available on-site roles, allowing them to stay 2 metres apart from others. If they have to spend time within 2 metres of other people, the employer must carefully assess whether this is involves an acceptable level of risk.

You may also be ‘disabled’ for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 because of your underlying health condition (unless you are over 70 or pregnant, without any underlying conditions). In this case, the protections described above (‘I have been told by the NHS to shield for 12 weeks. Can my employer make me return to work?’) will also apply to you. Your employer cannot force you to come into work, and should make ‘reasonable adjustments’, like allowing you to work from home. Remember, the government’s advice is that you should work from home if this is possible. You should not have to go into work unless it is impossible for you to work from home.

Template letters: If your employer is asking you to return to work and you have concerns about your health and safety, you can use our template letter for employees and letter for workers (depending on your employment status) to raise your concerns and discuss staying off work.

I am recovering from coronavirus, and my employer wants me to return to work. Do they have to make any adjustments for me?

If you are too ill to return to work, you should receive sick pay from your employer. This can be enhanced sick pay paid under your employment contract, or Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), paid at £95.85 a week for up to 28 weeks. 

Coronavirus is still a new illness, and there is lots of uncertainty about its long-term effects. However, if you were hospitalised because of coronavirus, and are still feeling the effects of your illness, you may be considered a disabled person under the Equality Act 2010. This will apply if the impact of coronavirus has a substantial adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. This effect must be expected to last at least 12 months.

If you are disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act, then your employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for you. You should think about what kind of adjustments you want to suggest to your employer, for example:

  • a phased return to work on reduced hours, if you are still recovering
  • discounting virus-related time off from your sick days
  • allowing time off to attend follow-up hospital appointments

Even if your condition is not serious enough for you to be considered disabled under the Equality Act, you can still request reasonable adjustments from your employer. Your employer has a duty to protect your health, safety and welfare. One way for them to fulfill this duty would be to make reasonable adjustments for you in the workplace.

See our FAQ above on ‘Can my employer discipline me or refuse training or promotion if I refuse to come to work because I’m worried about coronavirus?

Pregnancy and maternity

I am pregnant, but my employer wants me to return to work. Do I have to?

See our FAQs on pregnancy and coronavirus here, in particular the question ‘I am pregnant. Can I refuse to go to work because of coronavirus?’.

Template letters: If your employer is asking you to return to work and you have concerns about your health and safety, you can use our template letter for employees and letter for workers (depending on your employment status) to raise your concerns and discuss staying off work.

Useful resources

Where can I go for more help?

We have created a number of articles on topics relating to coronavirus. Have a look at our general FAQs page on your rights at work, information about furlough and redundancy, our page on what financial support you might be able to claim, our page for new and expecting parents during the COVID-19 pandemic and our page for carers and those that are living with someone who should be ‘shielding’.

To find out what government schemes will help if work has been affected by Covid-19, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) have created a decision tree to help you navigate what you may be entitled to, including whether you are eligible to be furloughed.

Links to further resources:

This advice applies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. 

If you have further questions and would like to contact our advice team please use our advice contact form below or call us.

Advice contact form