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Advice for Members in Scotland

Last Updated:  13 August 2021

Scotland has moved beyond level 0 of the Scottish Government’s five-tier system of Covid controls. This means almost all legal restrictions to manage Covid-19 have been removed. However, employers must by law protect workers and others from risks to their health and safety. This includes risks from Covid-19.
Further information on the easing of restrictions in Scotland is available here.

Going to Work
In Scotland people are advised to continue to work from home where possible. 
We recognise that the majority of Union members have continued to attend the workplace throughout the pandemic and the Union would expect the safety measures already in place to be maintained. Please speak to your Rep or Union Official if you have any concerns about health and safety in your workplace.

Safer Businesses and Workplaces Guidance
Despite the lifting of most legal restrictions in Scotland, all businesses and workplaces should follow the safer businesses and workplaces guidance. This replaces most of the previous sector-specific guidance.
While there is distinct and additional guidance for some industries/workplaces, this guidance should be applied across all Usdaw workplace settings.

Face coverings
In Scotland face coverings are still mandatory in most indoor public places, including shops, workplaces and on public transport. This includes any indoor communal area in a workplace and where there are no measures in place to keep people separated by either a partition or distance of at least 1 metre. The face coverings guidance provides further advice on how this should be applied in the workplace.

Social Distancing and Precautionary Measures
In Scotland the legal requirement for social (physical) distancing has now been removed. However, other precautionary measures remain in place along with guidance on ventilation and hand hygiene.
While there is no longer a legal requirement to socially distance, good practice guidance from the Scottish Government still advises people to keep distance where they can.  The Union still expects employers to maintain social distancing measures, such as physical distancing markers/screens at tills and counters.

Advice for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. 
Scotland has extra guidance and advice for people at the highest risk from Coronavirus (people previously on the shielding list). Advice to help people at the highest risk make informed decisions and access support services is available here.
Members who are at highest risk and concerned about any risks in their workplaces should speak with their Union Rep or Official.

Pregnant Employees
Employers have particular responsibilities towards workers who are new mothers or pregnant women. Members who are pregnant and concerned about any risks in their workplaces should speak with their Union Rep or Official.

People in Scotland will no longer need to self-isolate for ten days as a close contact if they:
  • Have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination under a UK Government programme (and 2 weeks have passed since receiving the second dose), or are under 18; and
  • Are asymptomatic; and return a negative PCR test.
Individuals under 18 years or medically unable to be vaccinated have different guidance which is available here.
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 (even if they are double vaccinated) or are partially or non-vaccinated will still be required to self-isolate for ten days.

It is illegal to knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work. This remains the law, regardless of your vaccination status.
If you have any concerns regarding how the guidance on self-isolation is being applied in your workplace, please speak to your Rep or Union Official.

Job Retention Scheme (JRS)
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) will end on 30 September 2021. From 1 July 2021, the level of grant was reduced and employers were asked to contribute towards the cost of furloughed employees’ wages. For more details on how the scheme changed please click here.
Members concerned about job security or redundancy ahead of the end of the JRS should contact their Rep or Union Official for further advice.

With some rules around self-isolation remaining in place, most working parents still face the challenge of balancing work and childcare. If you need to keep your child at home in line with public health advice to self-isolate, this may affect your ability to attend work due to the need to provide childcare. In these circumstances working parents have the following options:
  • Talk to your manager – in many companies the Union has agreed how working parents will be supported during the pandemic. This could mean changing the hours, days or times of day you work. It might mean using annual leave if you have leave available. Some companies are offering unpaid leave although the Union is clear that this is not a realistic option for many low paid families. We will continue to push both employers and the Government to financially support working parents during this time.
  • Talk to your Usdaw Rep or full time official – the Union has been working hard to encourage employers to support parents and while many are doing this some of our members are not getting the support they need. If you require support in discussions with your employer on this, please contact your in-store Usdaw Rep, or call your local Usdaw office.
More information on childcare can be found on the Parent Club website.

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