How can employers consult employees on returning to work?

Last updated: 27 May 2020

It is important for employers to consult the union in plenty of time about how they intend to control the risk of transmission, and allow representatives to contribute to planning the arrangements. This will build confidence among employees that the arrangements are fair and effective, and means workers can comprehensively take stock of the risk.

There are existing frameworks in health and safety law to ensure that employers seek and consider employees’ opinions, with the aim of reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement.

Employers must consult health and safety representatives, where they exist, on their plans and the measures to control the risk of transmission.

In workplaces where there are no health and safety representatives or where the union does not have recognition, employers still need to consult employees either directly or via elected employee representatives.

Like any health and safety issue, it is important to maintain a dialogue with your employer on the measures being taken to reduce the risk of the virus being transmitted.

We are encouraging branches without health and safety representatives to determine whether there are reps or members who would undertake this role. It is preferable for them to have existing health and safety knowledge, but training is available.

This page is designed to give general information about health and safety on returning to work. It does not cover all circumstances and should not be treated as a definitive answer. Members should contact Prospect either through the Member Contact Centre on 0300 600 1878 or contact their union rep or full-time officer for specific advice.