A news has been circulating in media where a pregnant healthcare assistant has claimed that she is filing a case against NHS Professionals over the breach of her rights under the Employment Rights Act, United Kingdom. This could be the landmark case against the NHS Professionals, which is an employment agency under the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care.
This healthcare assistant who is a mother of two, working at a local hospital in London for the last six years on a contract. The pregnant woman was sent back to her home as the coronavirus pandemic in the UK took a deadly turn, for security reasons. However, its been eight weeks during this period that she is without work and salary both.
The eight weeks without salary and work is a legal breach of the Employment Rights Act which is fully enforced in the UK. So, this healthcare worker was advised to fight a legal battle.
Many people say that this case is just one exemplary case for many other healthcare workers who are probably going through the same. But Maternity Action, a charity organization working on women’s rights says that this case also implies that some employers are completely ignoring the safety and legal care for their employees, especially when they are pregnant women.
Andrew Hillier QC is a legal practitioner from a South West London Law Centre. He is representing this healthcare assistant in this legal battle. Hillier says that; “It’s unacceptable that NHS Professionals, a key provider of staff to the NHS, is grossly abusing the concept of zero-hours contracts – and that experienced, committed healthcare professionals like ‘Ms. A’ are suffering because of it.”
This case is in limelight during a time when many other frightened healthcare workers who are hiding, isolating, or maybe protecting themselves and their families from the deadly coronavirus have refused to return to the work and most of these cases were at public agencies.
Previously when the UK’s government announced that it is easing the lockdown, many of the healthcare workers put their case forward on being unpaid leave.
This warning was issued after Deliveroo, a takeaway company was labeled for probably causing a grouping of riders where they put the health of many people at risk. After this news, nearly 44 MPs complained to the company for the safety concern and demanded to provide the safety equipment to all their riders and pay them fully if they have contracted the virus or in isolation with suspected coronavirus symptoms.
Deliveroo company has, however, refused all these allegations and says that it takes care of the safety of all its riders. The statement from the company said; “At Deliveroo, riders are at the heart of everything we do and we are working hard to support them during this unprecedented time. This includes distributing PPE kit to riders across the UK, supporting riders financially if they are unwell, and keeping riders safe through contact-free delivery.”
Dave Prentis has written a letter to Matt Hancock, the secretary health, that says; “Through no fault of their own, some low-paid workers are having to choose between putting food on the table or protecting loved ones,” he said. “Vague public health guidance is giving unscrupulous employers the wriggle room to pressure those who should really be off to go into work.”
The NHS Professionals claim that they take care of all of their staff member’s health and their welfare is their prime concern. The safety level is even higher for those who are more vulnerable to health risks during this coronavirus pandemic.