Working from home where possible is one of the precautions which many of us can take to limit the spread of coronavirus, and is very important given the potential harm which the Omicron variant could cause to people and our public services.
However, we remain opposed to the idea that the potential fine on workers would help them. This is based on the incorrect premise that an individual worker is in a position to challenge their boss if they are not complying with the ‘work from home’ regulations. We strongly oppose the individualisation of the employer/worker relationship and have again called on Welsh Government to remove the part of the regulations which permits enforcement officers to issue a £60 fine to individuals in relation to this.
If you are concerned that your employer is not complying with the Welsh Government’s regulations and guidance, contact your trade union. If you are not a member of a union or would like to share your experience of working during the pandemic, contact email@example.com.
Also, remember that if you are not able to work from home then your employer must conduct a Covid risk assessment of your workplace and implement the necessary steps which will keep you and your colleagues safe. As we move into Alert Level 2, all employers are under a legal duty to revisit these risk assessments and strengthen mitigations in line with Welsh Government’s guidance.
The focus must remain on the steps and precautions we should all be taking to keep one another safe. Vaccination is critical, including getting the booster jab. Please don’t delay your appointment as this is the best way to keep yourselves and others safe. We must all also follow Welsh Government advice, which currently advises that:
· limit your contacts
· outdoors is safer than indoors
· do a lateral flow test before seeing others
· if you have symptoms, self-isolate and book a PCR test
· wear a face covering
We are also campaigning on behalf of those workers who are likely to be laid off due to new restrictions, including the closure of nightclubs and changes to live sports events from Boxing Day. The UK Government must urgently reboot a furlough scheme for workers so that people’s incomes and jobs are protected.
We have also called on Welsh Government to widen the eligibility of emergency financial assistance by removing the cap on the Discretionary Assistance Fund so that no one faces extreme financial hardship.