Covid rights
Covid rights

Crawley Labour’s Guide to Your Employment Rights

This is the first piece of our guide to your employment rights.

  1. Am I entitled to time off during working hours?

There is no general right in law to have time off for the vaccination, but check your employment contract and company policies, as they may allow time off for medical appointments.

  1. What if I’m a key worker on the front line?

Your employer has an obligation to implement measures to protect you from risk under health and safety legislation – enabling you to have the vaccination as soon as possible is clearly vital. This argument can also be applied to anyone whose job obliges them to attend the workplace or visit clients.

  1. What if I’m classed as clinically extremely vulnerable?

You may be defined as disabled under the Equality Act 2010. This might trigger a ‘reasonable adjustment’ under the law to give you time off work for the vaccination.

  1. Isn’t a pandemic exceptional circumstances for any worker?

Yes, it would be reasonable to argue that any employer who makes it more difficult for their workers to be vaccinated is in breach of the ‘mutual trust and confidence’ implied in all employment contracts. There is also a risk of reputational damage to the employer if they are obstructive.

  1. Can my employer ask me to change my vaccination appointment?

Employers should only ask if rescheduling is a possibility if they have a good reason such as the unavailability of anyone else to cover an essential task.

  1. Should my employer pay me if my appointment is during working hours?

There is no legal obligation to pay you for medical appointments if this is not specified in your employment contract or company policies. But it makes good business sense to encourage employees to have the vaccination as soon as possible.

  1. If I have been shielding, am I obliged to return to the workplace once the vaccination has taken effect?

It remains preferable for you to work from home for now as the vaccination does not guarantee total protection from Covid 19, especially if you haven’t yet had the second jab.  But if your role makes this difficult, there should be a very careful risk assessment first, with all possible safeguards put in place. If concerns remain, you cannot be forced to return.

  1. Can my employer make me have the vaccination if I don’t want to?

There is no legal obligation to have the vaccination, but your employer does have a wider duty to protect other employees and clients (especially in a care home or health setting). It’s likely that many employers will develop company policies on this difficult issue over the coming months – they should do this thoughtfully and in consultation with their employees.

 Linda Gregory

Labour WSCC candidate for Three Bridges 

With thanks to the publication Personnel Today for useful guidance which can be found by following the link.

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