Last Updated: 1 April 2022
Please note that the guidance from Usdaw should be used alongside public health information and official Government guidance.
In England and Northern Ireland all Coronavirus legal restrictions have now ended, including any border restrictions. Employers must still continue, by law, to protect workers and others from risks to their health and safety.
In Wales from 28 March legal restrictions around self-isolation and wearing a face covering in shops and on public transport will end, but people will still be required to wear masks in health and social care settings and Companies will still be expected to assess the risk of Covid-19 in their workplaces and take precautionary measures.
In Scotland the vast majority of restrictions ended on 21 March. However, the legal requirement to wear face coverings on public transport and most indoor settings, including in shops, will remain until at least early April.
It is important to note that whilst many legal restrictions have ended, infections remain high in all areas of the UK and the pandemic is far from over.
It is no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid-19. However, people who test positive should stay at home and avoid contact with others. If you have tested positive and your employer is saying you should return to work, urgently contact your rep or Area Organiser.
Social distancing requirements have now been removed. However, whilst infections remain high Usdaw is calling on employers to continue to promote such measures in stores, such as physical distancing markers/screens at tills and counters.
It is no longer a requirement to wear face coverings in stores in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, but this requirement remains in place in Scotland until at least early April.
The UK Government have advised face coverings should be worn in communal and/or crowded spaces. Usdaw is urging the shopping public across the UK to wear face coverings, along with necessary hand sanitisation and maintaining social distancing, to help make shops safer and protect shopworkers.
Usdaw has been working with employers throughout the vaccine rollout to support members in getting vaccinated. We continue to negotiate with employers to ensure they provide appropriate support to ensure people can attend vaccination appointments. The Union is encouraging eligible members to get their booster jabs as soon as possible.
Going to Work
The instruction to work from home has ended.
We recognise that the majority of Usdaw members have continued to attend work throughout the pandemic. Usdaw is clear that the Coronavirus pandemic is not over and we expect employers to be looking at what safety measures need to be maintained to protect workers. Please speak to your Rep or Union Official if you have any concerns about health and safety in your workplace.
Working Safely Guidance
The UK Government has clarified that all businesses should continue to follow the principles set out in the working safely guidance. While there is distinct guidance for different types of workplaces, such as shops, there is some common guidance and information that should be applied across all Usdaw workplace settings.
Employers have particular responsibilities towards workers who are new mothers or pregnant women. Members who are pregnant must first have a workplace risk assessment and if there are risks that cannot be removed and alternative work cannot be found, members must be suspended on paid leave. If pregnant women or new mothers are concerned about any risks in their workplaces, they should speak with their Union Rep or Official.
Childcare and Schools
With infections at a high level, many working parents may face the challenge of balancing work and childcare. If you need to keep your child at home because they have tested positive for Covid-19, 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.
- 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.