Responding to Boris Johnson’s announcement today (Friday), allowing employers to start bringing home-working staff back to the workplace from next month, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“We all want to get the economy up and running as quickly as possible. Returns to workplaces must happen in a phased and safe way.
“The government is passing the buck on this big decision to employers. Getting back to work safely requires a functioning NHS Test and Trace system. Yet progress on test and trace is still patchy, and the government is still refusing to support workers who have to self-isolate by raising statutory sick pay from just £95pw to a rate people can live on.
“A safe return to workplaces also requires much greater investment in public transport if people are to be able to commute to workplaces.
“Before reopening any workplace, every employer must complete a risk assessment, and make plans to reduce the risk to workers through enabling social distancing. They must consult their staff trade unions, and larger employers should publish the risk assessment on their website.
“Not everyone will be able to return to workplaces full-time or immediately. People who have been advised to shield and those without enough childcare may need to work fully from home for the foreseeable future.
“Many businesses have seen the benefits of flexible approaches to working during this pandemic. This progress must not be lost. All staff should have the right to work flexibly from their first day in the job.”
The TUC is calling on employers to do the following before asking staff to return to the workplace:
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