Workers need to carry their phones at work

Friday September 25th 2020


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

The First Minister yesterday backed local MSP Christine Grahame’s call for workers, particularly in retail and hospitality settings, to be allowed to have their phone on them during shift for the purposes of allowing the Protect Scotland app, the Scottish Government’s Covid tracing app, to be effective.

Many staff in such settings are normally prohibited from having their phone on them at all during shift by their employers, being asked instead to leave it in a locker. However, the Protect Scotland app works by sending a continuous signal out over Bluetooth and when it “pings” another phone with the app installed in a close radius records it (in the form of a unique code). If the owner of that other phone later tests positive for coronavirus, everyone with the app who was near them will get a notification alerting them. All of this is done anonymously and privately, with no personal details recorded.

The app simply runs in the background, not requiring any user input after it’s installed, however it is essential that people carry their phone with them for it to work, otherwise it will only alert users if anyone with coronavirus was near their phone, rather than near them.

Ms Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale said:

“Well over one million people have now downloaded the app, which is fantastic, but for it to work people need to actually have their phone on them when they’re in busy public places.

“Customer service staff, like those in our shops and pubs, are on the frontline spending many hours with the general public. I welcome employers providing them with PPE but this does not completely negate the risk and allowing them to have the app running during working hours adds an extra layer of protection and reassurance for both themselves and customers.

“The app is passive, so employers can of course request that the phone is on silent and isn’t taken out a pocket during shift – doing this will not therefore have any impact on staff’s ability to work.

“I’m glad the First Minister has confirmed she agrees that employers should be taking a flexible approach to this and allowing staff to carry phones for the sake of public health. I have already written to a number of shops in my constituency to highlight this issue and hope they and other employers will take heed of this, if they’ve not done so already.

“If staff have any concerns about their management’s approach to this they are welcome to get in touch with me to discuss.”

The Protect Scotland App can be downloaded by clicking the appropriate links below:

Get the app on the App store

Get the app on the Play store

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