Health and safety detriment protection to be extended to workers


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The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Protection from Detriment in Health and Safety Cases) (Amendment) Order 2021 is due to come into force on 31 May and will extend the rights currently available to employees (under section 44 ERA) not to be subjected to a detriment in certain health and safety cases to workers.

If approved, the Order will ensure that the relevant provisions of the ERA 1996 are aligned with the High Court's decision in R (Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and another (where it was found that the UK had failed to properly implement the EU Health and Safety Framework Directive by limiting protection from detriment on health and safety grounds under section 44 ERA to employees and not also including workers).

It's worth noting that as the Order is not due to come into force until 31 May if any relevant act or failure to act occurred before that date, and is not part of a series of similar relevant acts or failures to act that continued on or after 31 May, a worker will not be able to rely on the new section 44(1A) to bring a detriment claim.

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