While the regulations include a legal requirement to work from home where possible, the guidance says that employers must take “every possible step” to facilitate homeworking, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working. It also says that “extra consideration” should be given to those individuals who are at higher risk.
In response to calls to support working parents with homeschooling during lockdown, the government guidance was updated to confirm that employees may be furloughed if they are unable to work, or are working reduced hours, because of caring responsibilities which have arisen as a result of COVID-19. This includes employees caring for:
- Children who are at home because of the closure of schools and childcare facilities
- A vulnerable individual in their household
The decision as to whether to furlough staff is ultimately one for the employer – they are not obliged to furlough employees.
See our update What lockdown 3 means for employers in England
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