Many of us living and working in Hackney have been affected by the recent rioting in the borough and across London.
As we all start work on the big clear-up and trying to figure out how things went so badly wrong, you may need to take practical action on issues such as your workplace being closed, or your home or belongings damaged.
If you have been made homeless as a result of the riots, you should contact Hackney Council’s homelessness advice service straight away. It has a legal duty to help certain people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.
Free and confidential information, practical help and emotional support for people who have been victims of crime is available from Victim Support (National Support Line 0845 30 30 900).
If, as a result of a disaster, you don’t have enough resources to meet your or your family’s immediate needs, you may be able to get an interest free and repayable Crisis Loan from the Department for Work and Pensions Social Fund. It must be the only way by which serious damage or risk to you or your family can be prevented (you can apply by calling JobCentre Plus on 0800 032 7952).
If you have had difficulties getting to work, or your workplace has closed as a result of the riots you could be affected in a number of ways. If you do not go to work when you are expected to, even though the circumstances are beyond your control, you are unlikely to be paid (unless your contract says otherwise, but this is unlikely). You could try asking your employer if you could work from home, make up your hours at a later date or take the time off as annual leave. You should not be disciplined or dismissed if you were unable to get to work due to circumstances that were beyond your control.
If you are uninsured and have suffered damage to your home or business (including having had your property stolen) then you may be able to claim from the Metropolitan Police – the claim must be made within 42 days of the first ‘clear day’ after the disorder. The form and details of how to claim are available from the Direct Gov website.
If you do have an insurance policy, then you should contact your insurance provider straight away as most policies have a very short deadline in which to make a claim.
If you are able to get to your workplace and willing to do so, but your employer tells you not to come into work (this could be because it’s not safe to travel, the place of work is closed or fewer staff are needed due to the situation), then you may be entitled to be paid but this will depend on what it says in your contract. Check your contract to see if it says anything about situations where there is no work for you to do, working zero hours or you don’t have guaranteed hours of work. If your workplace has completely closed down or is going to take a long time to reopen then you may be entitled to redundancy pay.
More information can be found on the Citizens’ Advice website and at your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau:
236 – 238 Mare Street
Tel: 020 8525 6350.
This article was written by Catherine Dempsey, Social Policy Coordinator, Hackney Citizens Advice Bureau.
How riots start, and how they can be stopped: Edward Glaeser (external site)