Kidney Care UK has published a series of ‘Safe At Work’ letters for everyone who is at highest risk from Covid-19 to use in discussion with their employers about how to keep safe at work, updated as government guidance changes. We were delighted that many people used it and many charities shared it. Government guidance changed again on 1 April 2022 and we have updated the letter in recognition of this.
From 1 April, the government removed the health and safety requirement for every employer to explicitly consider Covid-19 in their risk assessments and the existing set of ‘Working Safely’ guidance with new public health guidance. However, the duty for employers to protect people from harm remains. This includes harm from Covid. The government’s 'Living with Covid' plan also specified that employers should continue to consider the needs of employees at greater risk from Covid-19, including those whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness.
Importantly, although the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive Covid test has ended, Government guidance recommends people who test positive for Covid should stay at home for 5 days and avoid contact with people at higher risk from Covid for 10 days. Employers will play an important role in facilitating this.
Discussing work safety concerns with your employer
- Consider who to speak to – this might be your manager, supervisor or HR. Ask to set aside some time in their diary so that you can have an uninterrupted discussion. Explain that you would like to speak to them about some concerns and ideas you have about safety at work.
- Prepare in advance: before the meeting, think about what it is that is worrying you and what you would like to achieve. Write down the points you want to make and if you feel it would be helpful, share a copy with your employer.
- At the meeting, explain what concerns you have about your current situation and how you think your employer can help you. It can be helpful to explain to your employer what impact your condition has on why you feel this way (if you feel comfortable doing so). Explain why the proposed adjustments will help you do your job better.
- Your employer may be under a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments to overcome a disadvantage which is arising because of your condition. Talk to your employer if you think this applies to you.
- If your employer seems unsure about what you've discussed, suggest a trial period to demonstrate why you think the adjustments could be effective.
Download the Safe At Work letter and share it with your employer to help you discuss your safety at work.
Further support about CKD and employment is available on our information pages.
Get in touch to share your experiences of CKD in the workplace
Do you have questions about keeping safe at work and your legal protections and rights? Please email your questions to our Policy team. We will not be able to answer questions about individual situations, but we aim to address general questions and concerns within our online Covid-19 guidance.
If you'd like to share details of how you have successfully negotiated changes within your workplace in relation to protection from Covid-19 (anonymously if you would prefer), we'd love to hear from you. It may help other people with kidney disease in similar situations.
We are told we must ‘learn to live with Covid’ but this will be much more difficult for some groups of people for whom Covid remains a significant risk, we urge all employers to understand how they can continue to protect those that remain vulnerable.Fiona Loud Policy Director, Kidney Care UK
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