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12 May, 2020 Open access

TUC issues advice to employees on whether they have right to refuse to work because of safety concerns related to coronavirus

New information published in response to Prime Minister's announcement that workers who can’t work from home, and who don’t work in industries that are closed down, should return to work

The TUC has issued advice to employees on whether they have the right to refuse to work because of safety concerns related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

In a new briefing - written in response to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement on 10 May 2020 that workers who can’t work from home, and who don’t work in industries that are closed down, should return to work - the TUC says -

'This announcement took unions and employers by surprise - and it poses a serious threat to workers’ safety.

So what are workers’ rights to refuse to work if they are worried?

Above all - all workers have a right to be safe at work, wherever they work and whatever they do. Coronavirus does not change this.'

The TUC goes on to set out guidance for workers who have concerns about the safety of their workplace, including

In addition, the TUC has published an online form which employees can use to report safety concerns to the Health and Safety Executive.

NB - the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has also published guidance for employers, employees and the self-employed on how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic in eight different types of work.

For more information, see Can I refuse to work because of coronavirus? We explain your rights from tuc.org.uk