Posted: Tue 21st Dec 2021

Welsh Government criticised over work from home law “A worker is not responsible for their place of work, their employer is”

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Dec 21st, 2021

The Welsh Government has been criticised after introducing fines of up to £60 for people who break rules requiring them to work from home where possible.

Ministers have been encouraging people to work from home for some time to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

However, from this week the advice has been turned into a formal part of the Covid regulations in Wales.

As Wrexham.com readers saw late on Friday we were digging into the regulation wording as usual:

It means any workers who go to work when they could work from home could face a fine of up to £60.

Employers face heftier penalties of up to £10,000 for repeatedly failing to allow people to work from home.

The move has been condemned by the Wales Trades Union Congress (Wales TUC) which has expressed shock and concern at the decision today – it is unclear why they did not issue a statement over the weekend or Monday.

Wales TUC General Secretary Shavanah Taj said today, “A worker is not responsible for their place of work, their employer is.

“This sets a really worrying precedent that the responsibility is somehow shared, and is at best naïve.

“We hope Welsh Government urgently repeals this to remove the fine on workers.”

The Wales TUC meets regularly with the Welsh Government through various social partnership arrangements, including the Shadow Social Partnership Council (SSPC). A

Although the last meeting of the SSPC was held on Thursday 16 December, trade unions say they were not consulted on the plans to fine workers or made aware of the changes to the regulations, which were published on Saturday.

In a written statement announcing the tightening up of the regulations at the end of last week, First Minister Mark Drakeford said the decision had been made in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant.

He said: “We should be prepared for the number of cases of the omicron variant in Wales to increase sharply.

“We need a plan to keep us safe this Christmas while delta is still dominant and we need stronger measures to protect us afterwards, as we prepare for a large wave of omicron infections.

“This is a virus which thrives on human contact. Every contact we have is an opportunity for us to spread or catch the virus.

“To reduce the number of contacts between people, the coronavirus regulations will be amended to place a legal duty on employers to allow their employees to work from home if possible, and on employees to do so where practicable.

“This is particularly important when cases rates in the community are high as contacts in the workplace can be a significant driver of transmission.”

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