17 May 2021

While today marks Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap for easing lockdown in England, the current Guidance for employees remains to work from home where possible. Employers must continue to facilitate homeworking for their employees, albeit if it is reasonably necessary for certain members of staff to work from the office, they can do so. We take the view that this should be assessed on an individual level, considering both the requirements of the business and employee need (for example, taking account of mental and/or physical health difficulties).

The Prime Minister indicated last week that the work from home Guidance will be lifted as we hit Step 4, currently anticipated to be on 21 June 2021. While some uncertainty remains over how quickly we will get to that point, particularly following the emergence of new variants (in the PM’s words, it depends on the UK being able to “stay on track”), employers are within touching distance of the freedom to welcome all employees back to the office. However, there will still be a need to comply with health and safety obligations and an array of employee relations issues to consider, including in relation to reluctant returners and the unvaccinated.    

With that in mind, to aid your “return to office” planning, we are compiling an HR Roadmap of our own. Look out for our next article, which will address the key legal challenges and HR action points for the remainder of 2021 and beyond.


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