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I would like to receive newsletters, event invitations and publications from Thomson Snell & Passmore by email on the following topics (tick all those that apply) and consent for my data to be processed for this purpose.

We respect your privacy and want news to be relevant. To either, click here or update your preferences by emailing us at info@ts-p.co.uk. Your personal data shall be treated in accordance with our & .

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  • Overview

    Despite current lockdown rules in the UK stating that people should ‘work from home wherever possible’ and that employers should ‘take every step possible’ to achieve this, there have been numerous reports in the media recently about people feeling they are being asked to attend the workplace unnecessarily or unsafely.

    Indeed, the Health and Safety Executive received nearly 4,000 complaints relating to COVID-19 between 6 and 14 January 2021, although it only took enforcement action in 81 of those cases. However, those figures do not take into account those who have not reported concerns, for fear of losing their job.

    What are the current rules?

    At the time of writing, the guidance is that those who can work effectively from home should do so. They should only travel to their workplace if they cannot ‘reasonably’ do their job remotely.

    For those workplaces that remain open, there are strict rules they need to follow. These include:

    • Carrying out an appropriate Covid-19 risk assessment
    • Minimising unnecessary visits to the office
    • Frequent cleaning of workspaces
    • Observing 2m social distancing
    • Extra handwashing facilities
    • Setting up one way systems
    • Collecting employees and visitor information for track and trace purposes


    There is also more detailed guidance in place for factories plants and warehouses, offices and contact centres and construction and outdoor work.

    What to do if issues arise

    Employers need to think very carefully about asking staff to come into the workplace at this time as the consequences of doing so without just reason can be severe.  There are a number of categories of employees where it may be inappropriate for them to attend.  For example, those who are extremely vulnerable themselves or have loved ones for whom they need to shield.  Without consideration of these issues and potential solutions, such as offering furlough flexi or full time leave or at least reasonable adjustments, employers may find themselves facing discrimination claims. 

    Additionally, if an employee reasonably believes that they are in serious and imminent danger at work they are entitled to either leave or refrain from entering their place of work.  If these individuals suffer detriment or are dismissed as a result of exercising this right, they can lodge a claim which may result in a finding of automatic unfair dismissal.

    Even for those businesses where it is genuinely not possible for employees to work from home, they still need to act with caution.  As we have touched upon above, employers need to ensure that any return to work is carefully planned with reasonable steps being taken to reduce any risks at work.  Further, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme remains open and may be a useful tool to deal with those employees who are shielding or are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

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    We act for businesses of all shapes and sizes and in many different sectors. Our advice covers all aspects of the employment relationship, helping to settle disputes, defending employment tribunal claims and providing immigration compliance audits.

    COVID-19: Understanding what Coronavirus means for your business

    Companies across the UK and globally are now considering how they can mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Newsletter Sign Up

I would like to receive newsletters, event invitations and publications from Thomson Snell & Passmore by email on the following topics (tick all those that apply) and consent for my data to be processed for this purpose.

We respect your privacy and want news to be relevant. To either, click here or update your preferences by emailing us at info@ts-p.co.uk. Your personal data shall be treated in accordance with our & .

Get In Touch

By submitting an enquiry through 'get in touch' your data will only be used to contact you regarding your enquiry. If you would like to receive newsletters from Thomson Snell & Passmore please use the separate form below.

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