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Old 12.11.2020, 10:01
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Covid and terminating employment

Are there any special rules around covid and employers terminating employment?

I finished my probationary period on Monday 9 November and at 10.30am was told that my employment was not continuing, given one week's notice ending on Monday 16 November and was asked to vacate my office that day. From Tuesday 10 Nov, I have been released from my work.

Later on Monday, I was asked to attend a handover meeting at 13.00. Before the handover meeting, I was informed that a colleague had tested positive for Covid and I was informed I should self-isolate under the FOPH rules for quarantine after close contact for ten days.

This means that between Monday 16 November and Friday 20 November, I cannot attend any face to face interviews and means I am very unlikely to be able to secure continuing work.

The company has no written protocols for covid in the head office. where I was based, and I have never seen the CEO wear a mask. In fact my boss only started wearing a mask when they believed I might be a personal risk. All other meetings we had had in the past 4 weeks or so, I was the only one wearing a mask. The only time I haven't worn a mask, was attending a small satellite office of the head office and talking quickly to colleagues (including the now-positive guy). Or sitting at my desk, alone.

I wondered if it is possible for a company to give notice in such circumstances?

- Whether I have an argument for extending the payment until 20 November?

- Or whether they can only give notice once the isolation period (hopefully that's all it will be and not full-blown covid) is complete, which would then be 3 months as I would be out of my probationary period?

Many thanks or pointers on this would be very welcome.
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Old 12.11.2020, 10:24
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Re: Covid and terminating employment

If you are still in your probationary period Im afraid they can let you go with one week notice. I do not think that having to self isolate changes that.


Good luck!
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Old 12.11.2020, 13:19
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Re: Covid and terminating employment

The question here is whether having to self-isolate is equivalent to being off work sick, but in any case you don't have this protection during a probation period.
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Old 12.11.2020, 14:04
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Re: Covid and terminating employment

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If you are still in your probationary period Im afraid they can let you go with one week notice. I do not think that having to self isolate changes that.


Good luck!
OP completed the probation on 10th November and was served notice later. So technically she was not in the probation period. Also not sure if OP received a formal letter from her employer (during the probation period) if they wanted to prolong the probation period citing some key reason -like skills not matching the role, poor performance ,role no longer available etc.. So in my opinion she can sue the employer for not taking precautionary measures and eventually exposing her to the virus.
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Old 12.11.2020, 14:08
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Re: Covid and terminating employment

Even if there was a "pause" due to the situation, that would also pause your probation, you couldn't claim they missed the deadline and you now have three months notice.

Best thing is to use the situation and any discomfort they may feel to get the best reference you can.
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Old 12.11.2020, 14:12
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Re: Covid and terminating employment

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OP completed the probation on 10th November and was served notice later. So technically she was not in the probation period. Also not sure if OP received a formal letter from her employer (during the probation period) if they wanted to prolong the probation period citing some key reason -like skills not matching the role, poor performance ,role no longer available etc.. So in my opinion she can sue the employer for not taking precautionary measures and eventually exposing her to the virus.
That isn't what she said - she said it finished on 9th Nov and she was given notice on 9th Nov, so no problem for the employer.

I've never seen any formal "letter" style feedback during probation, and the OP doesn't suggest that took place either.

Unless she raised her coronavirus concerns with her employer at the time, I think she'd struggle to be seen by a court as anything other than a disgruntled former employee.
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