Can my employer fire me if I don’t want to go back to work?

Monaco Solicitors gives some advice around whether you can be fired if you do not want to return to your workplace.

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Taking a gap in my career. Concentrated involved powerful employee standing and holding the box with his belongings while leaving the company and expressing sadness

Monaco Solicitors gives some legal advice on whether your employer fire you if you don’t want to go back to your workplace.

You are legally entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you have coronavirus symptoms or have been advised to self isolate by a doctor or other medical authority. You can get an isolation note online on the NHS 111 website.

If you are a vulnerable person, for example, you are elderly or have underlying health conditions, the current legislation does not entitle you to SSP.  Still, we would advise you to get an isolation note online on the NHS 111 website mentioned above. This would then entitle you to SSP.

If you are pregnant, then your employer must do a risk assessment. If it is unsafe for you to attend work, your employer has to suspend you on full pay. If that is within six weeks of your due date, then you are entitled to start your maternity leave at that point, as per the legislation here.

What can you do if you feel like it is not safe, but you do not fall under any of the above circumstances?

If you want to self-isolate because of coronavirus, but you are not sick yourself, then the current legislation does not entitle you to SSP.

You could ask to be placed on the government’s furlough scheme, where you’ll get 80 per cent of your wages up to £2,500 a month, while you come to an agreement with your employer or your employer makes your workplace safe.

Just bear in mind you have to be furloughed for at least three weeks.

Monaco Solicitors has a free complaints letter you can download to send to your employer if you’re unsure what to write yourself.

What can I do if my employer fires me?

If you’re unreasonably fired by your employer, you may be able to make a claim for “unfair dismissal“.

You should also consider whether your dismissal is linked to your age, race or a disability. If you’ve been treated differently to others on your team you may have grounds to claim for discrimination.

You might also be able to claim for something called interim dismissal relief under the Employment Rights Act. Here, a judge can order your employer to pay your wages until your trial if you believe you are in imminent danger to yourself or others by returning to work.

But you only have seven days after being fired to apply, and you will need strong evidence to back up your claim.

This could include being unable to properly social distance in the workplace, having to share equipment, and equipment and your workplace not being sufficiently cleaned.

*workingmums.co.uk and Peninsula UK will be holding a COVID-19 employment rights session on all aspects linked to the pandemic on Thursday 14th May at 12-1pm on Facebook Live.



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