Work from home

Work from home guidance to end from July 19

Employees will no longer be told to work at home, with Boris Johnson on Monday giving the green light to employers to start preparing plans for a return to the office.

The Government will retract its guidance on working from home, expected on July 19, giving bosses more discretion to set their own terms for remote and office working.

However, Mr Johnson has stopped short of urging people to return to the office following reports that he had been advised against doing so by his scientific and medical advisers.

The Government will also be replacing the sector-by-sector guidance on Covid-secure workplaces with simpler advice. It will form part of the health and safety regime that existed for workplaces prior to the pandemic.

It is understood firms will be given the power to decide whether they continue to space out desks as well as using mitigations such as perspex screens.

Ministers are exploring ways of giving workers more rights to work flexibly, but this is not expected to extend to a legal right to work from home.

With millions of workers now adjusted to remote working, demands from employers for them to return to the office five days a week is likely to lead to tensions and could even trigger a wave of legal challenges. In particular, there are concerns over whether medically vulnerable people could be forced to return to the office against their will.

With requirements on social distancing and mask wearing also due to end, critics argue that many employees will also be concerned about commuting into the office again.

Warning of a free-for-all on Monday, Jon Richards, the Unison assistant general secretary, said face coverings and well-ventilated workspaces provided a level of reassurance and security to staff. Safety laws also required employers to keep these workers safe.

“Many other employees, who have spent the past 16 months working from home, will be more reluctant to step on to crowded buses, trains, trams and tubes if masks are no longer compulsory,” he said. “Having two vaccine jabs protects individuals and the wider community. Wearing masks is all about protecting others too. The Prime Minister should be wary about being too hasty with their scrapping.”

The Covid lockdown rules that will end from July 19

Ministers are exploring ways of giving workers more rights to work flexibly, but this is not expected to extend to a legal right to work from home.

Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2021/07/05/work-home-covid-guidelines-end-government-guidance/

Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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