DVLA Strike Shows the Dangers of Getting the Return to the Workplace Wrong

April 29, 2021

 

In early April, employees at the DVLA headquarters in Swansea staged a four-day strike following a large outbreak of Covid-19 in their workplace.

The employees complained that large numbers of staff were being unnecessarily required to attend the office at the same time, and that the safety measures put in place by the DVLA to mitigate the dangers of this were inadequate. It has been reported that this has led to over 560 cases of Covid-19 among DVLA employees.

Both the outbreak of cases and the bitter dispute that has followed demonstrate some of the challenges employers face in returning staff to a physical workplace.

Employment lawyer, Owen John, outlines some key tips for safely managing a return to work:

  1. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended to 30 September 2021, and this includes the option to flexibly furlough employees. If suitable, it may be beneficial to take advantage of the scheme to stagger employees returning to the workplace and reduce the numbers at a premises at any one time.

  2. Consider whether any employees will be able to continue working from home effectively and prioritise the return to work for those employees who need to be on the premises to do their job.

  3. Ensure that you have an up to date and comprehensive risk assessment in place that is available to all employees. The health and safety guidelines are continuously updated so make sure to keep on top of the changes and ensure your workplace practices adhere to the guidelines.

  4. Be mindful of employees who may be anxious about returning to work, whether it be because of their own health conditions or caring for someone vulnerable. A requirement for everyone to return to work regardless of their circumstances may give rise to potential discrimination claims.

  5. Communicate with employees about the return to the workplace and listen to their concerns. Make sure to explain what safety measures are in place to protect them. This will in turn give employees more confidence that their safety is the paramount concern.

  6. Try to be flexible where appropriate. Duly consider any flexible working requests and any reasonable adjustments which could assist employees with easing back into the workplace. Every employee is different, so applying the same solution to all employees may not be appropriate.

 

 

Contact Our Team
Catherine Burke
Partner
View Profile
Damian Phillips
Partner
View Profile
Fflur Jones
Managing Partner
View Profile
Gareth Wedge
Partner
View Profile
Mark Rostron
Partner
View Profile
Nick O’Sullivan
Partner
View Profile
Owen John
Partner
View Profile
Rhodri Lewis
Partner
View Profile
Stephen Thompson
Partner
View Profile

I have worked with Darwin Gray for a number of years and the level of service, professionalism and timely response is second to none. I would highly recommend Darwin Gray to any business.”

Becs Beslee, Dice FM Ltd

Darwin Gray have provided us with a first-class service for many years now. They really take the time to understand our business and develop relationships which results in advice and support that is contextualised and effective.”

Rebecca Cooper, ACT Training

We have worked with Darwin Gray for several years and have always found their services and advice to be first class.”

Karen Gale, Stepping Stones Group

An extremely professional and sincere company who make time for your queries and understand the need to break down certain facts and information to ensure everything is understood perfectly. I would highly recommend the company to anyone looking for any type of legal advice”

Gwawr Booth, Portal Training Ltd

PSS has worked with Darwin Gray for many years. We have always received an excellent service. Prompt and professional advice and support.”

Ledia Shabani, Property Support Services UK Ltd

We have used several departments within DG recently and we have been very pleased with an effective, efficient and down to earth service. Very happy thus far and I expect that we will continue to use DG.”

Guto Bebb, Farmers’ Union of Wales

Darwin Gray offer us truly superb services. Very professional, quick and services available bilingually which is very important to us, highly recommend.”

Iwan Hywel, Mentrau Iaith Cymru

My “go to” in urgent and time sensitive cases for direction, support and advice. The team are quick to respond to calls or emails for advice and support on all matters. Always explain complex matters in a way a lay person can easily understand.”

Margot Adams, Guarding UK Ltd