The government guidance is that employees should work from home, where possible. If there is an established requirement to work from home where appropriate or where instructed to do so, then there is unlikely to be an issue applying this. If not, imposing home working would constitute a variation of the contract requiring employee consent, however we anticipate most employees would be likely to agree to this. Employers should ensure that the health and safety implications of homeworking have been considered and that the necessary infrastructure is in place.
In normal circumstances, it would not be appropriate for an employee to work from home while also providing childcare. However, as schools and nurseries close, employers may be prepared to take a more relaxed and flexible approach to homeworking and allow employees to work around their childcare responsibilities. If an employee cannot work around their childcare responsibilities, you should consider furloughing the employee.
Unless an employee is self-isolating in accordance with government guidance, and where the employee is ordinarily required to work from the employer’s premises, then it is permissible to refuse a request to work from home.
Doing so, however, may then see an employee reporting that they have developed symptoms and require to self-isolate, which could lead to the employee not carrying out any of their duties. Employers may therefore wish to consider individual requests to work from home on a case by case basis.
If the nature of the business is such that home working cannot be accommodated, the employer may wish to consider agreeing with the employee to be placed on furlough. If that is not practicable for any reason, please see our General Q & A document on Shortage of work regarding options in case of a shortage of work may be applicable.
To download full document Coronavirus (Working from Home) .
The information provided was accurate as at 21 April 2020 when these resources were written by our team of employment solicitors.
The information provided in this document is intended as general guidance only. The information is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. Just Employment Law Ltd shall accept no responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information in this document.
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