The Government has urged people to continue working from home “if they can” in an effort to reduce social mixing and slow the spread of the coronavirus. Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove said: “We are stressing that if it is safe to work in your workplace, if you are in a covid-secure workplace, then you should be there if your job requires it. But, if you can work from home you should.” Mr Gove admitted this advice had changed from last month’s, whereby the Government was urging people to go back to the office.
Should I work from home?
In short, yes. If your job enables you to work from home rather than being present on site, you should work from home as long as coronavirus restrictions last.
Both employers and employees should be practical, flexible and sensitive to each other’s situations when working from home.
As long as you are well and working from home, you should continue to be paid your normal salary.
If you are self isolating but can’t do your work at home, then by law, you should receive Statutory Sick Pay in addition to any workplace sickness schemes your employer offers.
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Can I refuse to work if my workplace isn’t safe?
The Government has issued extensive guidance for employers to ensure that workplaces are covid-secure, which includes completing a risk assessment.
If you think your workplace is unsafe, you should offer suggestions to your employer on what steps can be taken to increase safety.
Ultimately, if you do not attend work despite being asked to, your employer could treat the absence as unauthorised and follow through with disciplinary action.
However, as an employer, you have legal rights not to be fired because you have raised health and safety concerns at work.