Friday, October 2, 2020

Working Through The Virus

 Today the UK has woken up to the news that Trump and his missus have tested positive for Covid-19.  Also, a SNP MP, was symptomatic and got a train to Westminster (6 hours), went to Parliament, got a positive result through, got the train back home then went to a meeting with the police…. And seems to have carried on as normal. She has now apologised.

 For being caught, I would suggest.


Meanwhile, Scotland is slowly heading into another lockdown. I can’t go into my mum’s house; her friend can’t run her to church. She’s 82 and lives on her own. She can go on a bus or get a taxi. We can’t go into her house but we can meet up in the pub.

  My 92 year old friend, who we are still doing the shopping for, only sees two people a week at her doorstep as they drop off her groceries. All her friends have died, she has no family. Fortunately, she has got herself a tablet and Skypes friends in the states and in Canada, at least once a day.

 The big issue here is that schools are back as usual, and children are now referred to as Little Red Riding Hoods as they are taking it home to grandma.


On a good working point, the research is showing that mask, apron. gloves and sanitising every surface gives the wearer almost 100% protection. So our governing body has announced that even if we treat a positive patient, we are allowed to keep working as we are not symptomatic. I’m not sure that I would. I’d certainly tell patients and let them decide if they want to come in, but I suspect I would quarantine myself. Thanks to that ruling by our professional body, if the  government trace and protect team get in touch with us and tell us to close down, we are now able to stay open and point to the ruling.

 But that’s for the therapists.

  Here’s a conversation with the employment lawyer

 Me; My receptionist is living with somebody who is waiting for a test result. I need to send her home. Do I need to pay her?

Lawyer; yes

Me; really, surely that encourages employers to have folk that could be positive in the workplace

Lawyer; were they symptomatic?

Me; no, but the person they live with is.

Lawyer; if your receptionist is symptomatic they get sick pay from day one. If not, then you really should pay them.

Me; Ok, I will but I can’t have them at work

Lawyer; Ok, sorry about that. The rules are only different if you are a key worker

Me; I am.

Lawyer; Oh good, do you have a vulnerable cohort?

Me; Yes

Lawyer; Right in that case you must send them home

Me; I know that, but do I need to pay them

Big pause. Lawyer; what part of the world are you calling from; I think I can guess from your accent?

Me; Scotland

 Lawyer; Oh right, that’s different again

Me; Oh good, so what's the answer

Lawyer; Nobody knows.


I was Ok with that, at least it was honest, keep the communication lines clear, be fair to all.


Another issue that people are talking about is the quarantine.

So say Betty the receptionist gets fed up of the dark, wet weather and decides to go to a sunny country not yet on the quarantine list. So she goes in in good faith, then while she’s there, the country is quarantined, and she to needs to stay at home for two weeks when she returns. She’s not liable for sick pay, she’s not able to come to work and it’s not a job she can do from home.  We need somebody to work at the desk, so we need to pay somebody else to cover Betty. So what do we do?


But what if  she went on holiday knowing that there would be quarantine on return and she happily took two weeks holiday ( which means four weeks absence from work) Some bosses are forcing the employee to take another two weeks holidays entitlement for the quarantine period (technically an illegal thing to do). And then what happens if the two weeks they took for holiday were the only two weeks they had left? What then?


I think the employment tribunal service is going to be very busy. 


1 comment:

  1. Thank God everything is sane and under control in the US.