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Coronavirus: staying at home under s44 ERA

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One of the biggest issues for employers right now is how to deal with employees who  are anxious about coming into work.  No matter what precautions the employer has taken to make the workplace safe, if an employee reasonably believes there is serious, imminent danger to health if they come into work, they have a right to stay at home (and cannot be subjected to a detriment or dismissed).

But what about people worried about the commute rather than the workplace?  Are buses and trains covered?  If an employee is scared of travelling on the tube, and (probably reasonably, given so many don't wear masks) fears serious and imminent danger to health, do they have a right to stay at home? (spoiler: I think the answer is 'yes')

Then the biggie: if they stay at home, are they entitled to full pay?  On the one hand, they're not ready, willing and able to work, so they shouldn't be entitled to any pay.  On the other hand, not paying them would be a detriment precisely because they're exercising their right to stay at home; so they have an absolute right to be paid.  It's a conundrum, and nobody knows the answer.

This is one of the (many) topics I'm covering at the Employment Law Autumn Report 2020 on Tuesday 20 October.  I'll tell you the practical answer for employers, i.e. what to do given that nobody knows the answer to the problem above.

Registration costs £45+VAT per person (free to members of the HR Inner Circle), and each delegate will receive a bespoke .pdf workbook, access to the live webinar, and an 'on demand' recording afterwards.  It's taking place on 20 October 2020 at 10am, and will last about two hours.

You can register here.