Employees Refusing to Return to Work

Hi all

Apologies if this has already been addressed. If so, I'd be most grateful if someone can point me in the right direction.

My company is planning to return to work (with limited personnel) during week commencing 11th or 18th May. In terms of communication to staff, I am mindful of the need for transparency regarding measures that will be put in place to adhere to social distancing rules, etc. (oh...I work in manufacturing and a majority of employees are in the factory).

Has anyone come across employees refusing to return to work when recalled and how this was dealt with. I know disciplinary would be a very last resort especially as we would have to take into consideration individual circumstances such as people shielding, childcare, etc.

Any thoughts on this would be very much appreciated.

Many thanks in advance

  • The real reason it should be a last resort is that dismissal or detriment for refusing to work because of health and safety grounds is automatically unfair

    You not only need good up to date risk assessment but to communicate those out and then listen to any lingering concerns.
  • Hi I work in a similar environment and having the same issues. Many people would rather be on furlough than return to work. We have been reviewing it on a case by case basis and if we are bringing the whole site back to work and they want to remain at home without a valid reason then it will be unpaid leave and not furlough. Obviously if a genuine reason then we may allow furlough to remain I.e living with someone vulnerable etc. Also we send out a document to them before they return explaining all the measures put in place.
  • Hi Sarah,
    Have they stated why they won't return back? Will there be changes made to assist with social distancing that you can provide them in the actions you are taking that would put their mind at rest.

    We are manufacturing and we have had employees working through this period, however very limited and only individuals that can't work from home. We had a few individuals that refused to come to work, however after discussions we were able to discuss the issues raised and come to solutions. All of which are working and have no issues now.

  • In reply to Peter Stanway:

    Thanks Peter. I am liaising with our H&S Officer re risk assessments and working on a communications document, basically detailing the measures, that we can circulate and hope for the best :)
  • In reply to Julie Hopkins:

    Thanks Claire. I am hoping to be able to review on a case by case basis as well. I like the idea of unpaid leave if no valid reason. Knowing my crew...that would change a few minds :)
    Good idea about the document explaining the measures in place. Working on something now.
  • In reply to Sarah:

    Sorry Julie. I have just renamed you. Apologies...literally losing the will !!!
  • In reply to Claire:

    Thanks Claire
    At this stage, it's me preparing for possible eventualities. If I was a betting girl, I would bet on this coming up. But as you say, might not be a big issue after discussions. I think the key would be to be open to discussions.