Blog - 01/06/2020
Covid-19 – Can workers be required to return to work?
The answer is not, or at least it was for Dyson, who have reversed plans for office-based staff to return to the workplace following objections from employees who argued that they should continue working from home.
On Friday 15 May 2020, an email was sent to Dyson employees informing them that they were expected to start returning to work the following Monday. According to employees, the email stated that staff would be divided into two rotating teams, who would alternate between working from home and going into the office. Employees argued that the move was a contravention of the current government guidance to “work from home, if you can”. The following day the decision was reversed by management.
This example highlights the difficulties faced by employers up and down the country, with mixed messages and a lack of clarity from the Government. What is clear is that employers must give very significant thought to the return to work process. Employers must conduct workplace risk assessments and consult with staff before making any decisions.
This comes as Government sources suggest that a legal right to work from home may be introduced as part of the government’s return to work package. This would protect employees who feel unsafe returning to work, and could also benefit employers who are finding it difficult to create a safe working environment in line with social distancing requirements.
The Employment team will continue to monitor and report on the situation as it develops. If you have any questions, please contact Linky Trott or any member of the Furlough Advice & Support Team.
To review our previous Covid-19 related updates, please click here.
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