Know your rights: Returning to work

I’m wondering when I can return to work? Where can I get information about the rules that will apply?

The Government has set out a Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business (pdf) to ease COVID-19 restrictions in a phased manner from 18 May 2020.

The plan sets out five stages for unlocking restrictions, at 3-week intervals. These dates may change depending on public health advice.

During phase 1 (18 May 2020) you may return to your workplace if you work mainly outdoors. This may include construction workers, gardener and some retail jobs where the shop floor is outdoors (for example, garden centres).

During phase 2 (8 June 2020) you may be able to return to your workplace if you work more at least 2 metres from other workers, or mainly work alone and you cannot work remotely.

In phase 3 (29 June 2020) some businesses may reopen where remote work is not possible, provided they can maintain social distancing including:

  • Restaurants and cafes
  • Non-essential shops
  • Organisations with low levels of interaction between employees

From phase 4 (20 July 2020) workplaces where remote working is not possible may be able to reopen where social distancing can be maintained. This could involve introducing shift work or staggered opening hours to keep staff apart. These restrictions will be gradually lifted so that workplaces where contact is unavoidable (for example hairdressers) may be able to reopen.

From phase 5 (10 August 2020) all sectors may gradually return to work. This may be staggered and restrictions will be lifted bit by bit.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Citizens Information Centres are offering a phone and email service. You can access information and advice from: