Posted on 03/20/2014 · Posted in Press Releases

The Sikh Council UK welcomes publication of an amendment to the Deregulation Bill which will extend the exemption for Turban wearing Sikhs from the requirement to wear safety helmets across workplaces in Great Britain.

It comes after a campaign lasting over a year by the Sikh Council UK to address an anomaly that has led to Sikhs being dismissed from their employment for wearing their Turban.

Secretary General of Sikh Council UK, Gurmel Singh said, “I welcome this news. It will make a real difference to Sikhs in the UK by increasing the number of workplaces that Sikhs can work in whilst maintaining their religiously mandated identity.”

He added, “I am grateful to members of the Sikh Council UK who have worked hard to achieve this milestone over the last year. I am also grateful to all the parliamentarians who have engaged with us on this and helped bring this about.”

The issue of wearing hard hats in place of Turbans has been an ongoing issue for Sikhs since the passing of the Employment Act 1989. In recent times the importance given to Health & Safety legislation by employers has increased and just in the last year Sikh Council UK have dealt with individual cases where Sikhs have been dismissed from longstanding employment solely due to their refusal to remove their turban and wear a hard hat.

In previous announcements the Government has proposed to extend the exemption that already exists in the Employment Act 1989 that allows Sikhs to wear their turbans in place of hard hats on construction sites to now cover all workplaces. However, it is expected there may still be very limited exceptions, such as for specific roles in the emergency services or armed forces.

Construction sites are acknowledged to be one of the most dangerous workplaces but the fact the law does not cover other workplaces where hard hats are commonly worn has always been viewed as an anomaly.

Head of Political Engagement for Sikh Council UK, Gurinder Singh Josan said, “This issue is important for UK Sikhs and is one of the issues we have been raising with Government and opposition politicians for well over a year now. Whilst we will be examining the wording of the amendment very carefully before responding further, we do welcome the progress made.”

End

Notes for Editors

Wording of the amendment can be found at:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2013-2014/0162/amend/pbc1621803b.1-2.html

The Sikh Council UK (SCUK) is the largest representative body of Sikhs in the UK. We are recognised as the national advocate for British Sikhs in the United Kingdom and at the European Union.