When today’s correspondent
… was first employed it was not condition of my employment that I have a first aid certificate. Later my employer sent me do first aid on their time and at their cost – I was then also paid a first aid allowance. New employees are now required to have a first aid certificate which they have to keep current at their own cost and in their own time.
Management have appointed first aid offices, one in each main employment area with only these paid the first aid allowance. My first aid certificate is now out of date and they are insisting that I go and get a new one on my own time but they will pay the cost – I have said “no” as I am not a first aid officer and it was not part of my employment contract to have a first aid certificate (which they admit is the case). But they are insisting I go and do the course, but it has to be in my own time and they will reimburse the course cost.
Now I have also stated that if a situation arose that required first aid, I would not be doing it but then calling for the first aid officer as they were getting paid to do it not me. Yes, I would attend to life threatening matters not just the splinters, small cuts and the like matters not requiring emergency or ambulance response.
How do I stand with all this?
This is largely an industrial issue and a question of what your employer reasonably requires. Many people might be pleased to have their employer pay for a first aid certificate as that is a useful skill anywhere. The employer may think they are doing you a favour.
The general rule is that there is no duty to come to the assistance of a stranger but at a work place, colleagues and visitors to the workplace are not strangers so there has to be a duty to do something if someone needs help, even if that duty is no more than to activate the workplace first aid procedures – ie call the nominated first aid officer.
Some may think there are moral issues with your position but without knowing details of the work or the employment contract, I cannot see any legal ones.