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Last Updated: Monday, September 6, 2021

What to do if you’re worried about working during Covid-19 and related worker rights information

From 19 July most coronavirus restrictions were removed in England and UK government social distancing guidance no longer applies.

You must still control the risks and review and update your risk assessment. The following workplace controls remain unchanged:

  • adequate ventilation
  • sufficient cleaning
  • good hand hygiene
  • You must continue to consult your workforce on health and safety matters, talking to workers and their representatives helps to reduce risk.

You can get further advice on working safely during coronavirus from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website. For more specific concerns you can also submit an enquiry to HSE via the website or call their helpline on 0300 790 6787, Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm

Sources:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/index.htm

 

Everyone who works in the UK has some employment rights. These include rights to be treated fairly and equally, rights around pay and pensions, working hours and conditions. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what job you do. You can find out about worker rights here: https://www.gov.uk/employment-status/worker

This is no different in the context of Covid-19. However, if you do not currently have authorisation to be in the country but are currently working, it can be very difficult to negotiate with your employer regarding pay and working conditions (see section below for undocumented migrants).

For more information about different government agencies you can contact for advice on understanding your employment rights or to report abuse at work, see this video. It is available in 11 languages - EnglishItalianPortugueseSpanishPolishHungarianRomanianRomanesHindiBahasa Indonesia and Tagalog.

If you believe you are a victim of exploitation or human trafficking there are several charities and organisations you can turn to for help and support, including:

  • Modern Slavery Helpline – call for information and advice on modern slavery. The number is free to call and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Kalayaan - provides advice, advocacy and support services for migrant domestic workers.
  • ATLEU - provides direct legal support to survivors of trafficking and slavery.
Sources

If you do not currently have authorisation to be in the country but are working, it can be very difficult to negotiate with your employer regarding pay and working conditions.

Working without authorisation in the UK is a criminal offence and those who are caught risk prosecution, imprisonment, fines or deportation.

If you feel that you are being exploited by your employer or forced to accept unsafe working conditions which you feel are putting yourself or others at greater risk of coronavirus, you have options to receive help and support.

These include:

Understanding more about your options as an irregular migrant through the Citizens Advice Bureau

Getting in contact with migrant rights charities who may be able to provide legal advice or financial support. Some good places to start are:

Sources:

Click here for information on support for Job Retention Scheme

Click here for information on support for the self-employed

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