UNISON union warning over back to work

Leading public services union UNISON has urged members in the area to beware if employers try to force them back to work when they should be self-isolating - following the Scottish Government’s new rules for key workers to return in exceptional circumstances only.

UNISON union logo

Stephen Smellie, depute convenor of UNISON Scotland voiced concern that some managers could misinterpret the rules. This includes making employees who have been identified as close contacts of people testing positive come to work, even though they should be self-isolating in line with public health advice.

Last month the Scottish Government issued new guidance to permit certain key workers to attend during their self-isolation period. However it only applies in limited special circumstances.

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The UNISON branch secretary said “Members should be made aware that the employer has to meet certain criteria before even asking a worker to attend work during their self-isolation period.

"Members should also be clear that it is entirely voluntary and they are not compelled to work if they have been required to self-isolate in line with public health guidance.”

The workers must have received two vaccines and tested negative. But the employer also has to apply for appropriate permission before it can ask workers self-isolating to attend work, and even then it must only be as a “last resort staffing contingency measure”. In addition, a full risk assessment must be carried out .