Q Can an employer insist that someone with swine flu symptoms comes to work?
An employer will be in breach of its common law and statutory duties to ensure the health and safety of its employees and to provide a safe place and system of work by insisting that an employee with swine flu symptoms attend the workplace. Additionally, such action is likely to breach the implied term of trust and confidence between the parties, as the employer could jeopardise the health of the employee in question, and of its entire workforce, given the highly contagious nature of swine flu.
Advice from the Department of Health for an employee who feels ill with symptoms is to stop working and report immediately to his or her manager or the occupational health department.
If the symptoms are consistent with swine flu, the employee should be sent home and told not to return to work until the symptoms have cleared and he or she feels well enough to return. If an employee develops symptoms while not at work, he or she should be advised to stay at home and not attend work until fully recovered.
Employees should also be advised to contact the National Pandemic Flu Service helpline for advice and an initial assessment of their symptoms.
Q If an employee has exhausted his or her entitlement to contractual sick pay, is the employee entitled to be paid if the absence is due to an instruction by the employer not to come to work to prevent the spread of swine flu?