As of Monday 27th December 2021, a new procedure surrounding COVID-19, specifically working from home, has come into place. It is now required that employers in Wales take all reasonable steps available to them to facilitate home working and provide their employees with the support they need during this time.
In a recent press conference, a Welsh Government’s spokesperson stated that additional measures have been put in place to help limit the spread of the virus and to protect public health. To enforce new measures, they have implemented a fining system.
The new law states specifically that “no person may leave the place where they are living, or remain away from that place, for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services. The circumstances are that it is reasonably practicable for the person to work or to provide voluntary or charitable services from the place where they are living.”
The term “reasonable practice” means that if an employee can complete their work tasks from home, then they must do so. This will apply to mostly those whose role it is to work in an office setting rather than those who work in areas such as manual labour, on the factory floor, or in the hospitality sector.
If employees are found to not be working from home when they are reasonably able to do so, the individual worker will receive a £60 fixed penalty notice while the company will be fined £1,000 every time one of their employees breaks this new enforcement with the potential for this amount to rise to £10,000.
If you operate in England, the fines will apply to any employees who travel from Wales to work and as such extra precautions should be implemented to ensure that all employees currently living in Wales are working from home when it is reasonable to do so.
There are a variety of ways that as an employer you can ensure that all of the applicable employees are safely abiding by the law regarding working from home. As an employer, you should be offering appropriate technology for employees if not already at their disposal and potentially setting up remote methods of communication between members of staff such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
It is paramount that policies to protect the business are put into place such as stating that employees must not work in public spaces due to security reasons to ensure that no confidentiality laws are broken while employees are working from home.
The new rules came as a shock to employers in Wales due to the lack of communication but also the fact that most employers have already gone to great lengths to ensure that workplaces are Covid secure and therefore feel these measures are disproportionate.
For further information on the new legislation surrounding working from home in Wales, or anything else HR related, contact us today at [email protected]