The coronavirus may have an impact on older workers well into the future. Many older workers are taking early retirement or leaving the workplace because they don’t trust their employer to keep them safe. For those without emergency savings this can be financially devastating as they have far fewer working years left to pay off debts and rebuild savings.
For younger workers, who are more likely to work in precarious contracts, the loss of work can be financially devastating. Younger workers are more likely to work in the sectors most impacted by the coronavirus lockdown. These include the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors. For those who are entering the labour market, this could be the most difficult time to do so. Additionally, it can be more difficult to enter the workplace, or return to it if you lack experience or have been away from the labour market for a long time.
Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 provides workers with the right to withdraw from and refuse to return to a workplace that is unsafe.
There have been several examples of union branches walking off the job citing this law.
If you feel your workplace is unsafe due to Covid-19, you should contact your union's legal team for urgent advice.
The Equality Act 2010 is the key piece of legislation dealing with workplace discrimination. It protects workers from discrimination based on age, sex, disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, or gender reassignment.
Union representatives have a key role to play in:
For more information on how the Equality Act can protect workers visit our Covid-19 and reasonable adjustments guide for reps
Download our Older Workers Toolkit to find out how unions and employers can help older workers.
Read about how to negotiate with employers and to protect the workforce in our coronavirus reps guide
Are you worried about not being able to stay safe from coronavirus at your workplace? Please tell us your experiences using our whistle blowing form.
We will anonymously share the information about your health and safety concern with Welsh Government and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). If you tell us it’s OK to pass on your details, we will also report the issue to your trade union for you.
Fill in our health and safety whistleblowing form
Unions help workers get together, stop people being treated unfairly and get a better deal from their employers.
They’re there when times are tough – providing free legal advice if you need it. There are lots of discounts and offers for union members too. And every year they help more than 200,000 people get the training and learning opportunities they need to move on in their career.
Isn’t it time you joined a union?