Coronavirus: What rights do I have as an employee at the workplace?

In partnership with the Solidarity Fund. 

The government gazetted detailed safety measures in the workplace for coronavirus in June last year. These outline the responsibilities of the employer towards the health and safety of their staff. 

Employers are required to provide appropriate masks free-of-charge for each employee when required as well as facilities for staff to be able to regularly and consistently wash their hands to ensure high sanitary standards are adhered to. Sufficient free sanitiser must be proved for the number of staff on duty.

Other safety measures in the regulations include limiting interactions between employees, clients and customers to a minimum, limiting capacity in common spaces like elevators and installing sneeze shields. Companies are encouraged to implement staggered shifts for staff so they are not all in the workspace at the same time, have different entry points for different sets of employees and restrict the areas they are allowed to access.

As well as symptom checking, disinfecting surfaces and reporting infections to the medical authorities, employers must instruct employees to stay at home if they feel ill or show any coronavirus symptoms. These include, according to regulations, “a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath (or difficulty in breathing), or loss of smell or taste… (and they must determine) whether they suffer from any of the following additional symptoms: fever, body aches, redness of eyes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue, weakness or tiredness.”

Featured image via Goodfree