Can your staff come to work today?
Last night, the Prime Minister implemented measures to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus. In his television address to the nation Boris Johnson announced that: “Travelling to and from work is permitted, but only where it is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home”. The statement was confusing in the sense that it didn’t explain whether the work had to be necessary or the travel had to be necessary.
Following the live address, the government then published some advice on “Staying at Home” and “Keeping away from others”. This guidance suggested that travel to and from work was permitted but only where the work absolutely cannot be done from home.
The government then took to Twitter in the late hours saying that the only reason people should leave home to go to work was if they were a key worker. This put another slant on things, suggesting that the relevant issue was whether work was key work or not and not whether it was necessary or, could not be done from home
The final comment on the matter came from Andy Burnham who issued a tweet to say that: “after speaking with Number 10” he’d had it confirmed that people CAN leave home to work as long as they fully observe the 2 metre distancing rules. Mr Burnham noted that this appeared to be in conflict with the government’s instruction to stay home, but stated that this was nevertheless the policy.
Hopefully we will get some clarity on what this all means soon but it does suggest that anyone can go to work provided that their work cannot be done from home. Employers should be aware of this when dealing with employees who are refusing to come into work. An unreasonable refusal to work could still be a serious matter where work cannot be done from home.
Keep checking in with us for further updates.