Boris Johnson announced last night a third national lockdown in England. To date, since release from lockdown #1, the guidance in relation to work has been to remain at home unless you cannot effectively work from home. The guidance published last night, which takes immediate effect, changes that previous guidance to say that people can only leave home to go to work if they cannot reasonably work from home. In addition, the guidance published last night states:
“Employers….should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working”.
This is a significant change to the guidance previously issued and the guidance provides some context for this assessment when it states:
“….where people cannot work from home – including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing – they should continue to travel to their workplace. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting sectors and employers”.
Further, the guidance states that no one can be outside of their home except where they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ and that includes where it is “unreasonable for you to do your job from home”. The guidance expressly permits working in other people’s homes where it is necessary to so such as nannies, cleaners or other tradespeople.
For those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, they are advised not to attend work and only go out if it is essential (medical appointment or exercise).
In the circumstances, employers should urgently review their current arrangements for those who have been travelling in to work given this new context.
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