Posted: Fri 25th Mar 2022

Companies urged not to “put staff in the position” of being forced into work if they test positive for Covid

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Mar 25th, 2022

The first minister has urged businesses not to “put staff in the position” of forcing them to come into work if they test positive for coronavirus.

From Monday (28 March) there will no longer be a legal requirement to self isolate after a positive test.

This will instead be replaced with guidance encouraging people to isolate and to stay at home and away from others if they have symptoms or test positive from the virus.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon First Minister Mark Drakeford said the fact “it is no longer in law certainly does not mean that it is no longer important.”

However questions were raised over how easy this would be for some employees, who may feel pressure from their workplace to come in even if they have tested positive for coronavirus.

Asked what his message to staff who fear they may be forced to go into work, the first minister said that no “employer should put staff in that position.”

He said: “They shouldn’t do it for all the good public health reasons that we’ve been rehearsing this morning and they shouldn’t do it for their business either.

“I was very struck yesterday at the social Partnership Council, the strength with which employer organisations endorsed that point.

“If you allow somebody with coronavirus to come into your workplace, all that will happen will be is that more people who you rely on will fall ill and your business will be you know infected and affected in that way.

“It is for solid business reasons why nobody should be obliging somebody who is ill and infectious to other people, to come into the workplace.

“For an employee who is put in that position, we have I think very good guidance available there on the Welsh Government website that tells you what you can and can’t do in those circumstances.

“Of course you’d expect me to say, as a Labour first minister here in Wales, you should be a member of your trade union, because that’s your first port of call to get the help and the protection that you need.”

The first minister also defended the removal of the legal requirement to self isolate and wear masks in retail amid concerns that people with underlying health conditions will be put at a greater risk.

He said: “I have more letters from people anxious that protections are being lifted too quickly than I do from people who think we’re going too slowly in Wales.

“I absolutely understand that if you have an underlying health condition, if you’ve been operating your own life very carefully that you are anxious at the thought that you might be re-entering a world where other people no longer take coronavirus seriously.

“It’s why I’ve been at such pains this morning to emphasise the fact that although we will be relying more in future on good advice and strong advice than we are on the law, doing the sensible thing still has to be part of the everyday repertoire of all of us

“We’ve learned all those things, haven’t we so carefully over the last two years, hand hygiene the keeping a respectful distance, wearing a mask.

“We’re going to have to find a way of living safely with coronavirus when we treat it like we do other conditions.

“If you catch the measles you don’t go to work with it, you don’t go out and about with it.

“There’s no law that tells you you’ve got to do that. It’s just that we understand that it would not be the right thing to do to be out there spreading a contagious disease to other people and the same needs to be true about coronavirus as well and

“it’s really important for those people that when they go out, they feel that they are reentering society in Wales where people are still thinking about them, are still thinking not just what can I do for myself, but how can my actions help to keep other people safe as well.

“We’ve done I think, incredibly well to sustain that way of behaving over the last two years and we need to go on doing it that way.”

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