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Can the mangers force you to go back to office instead of WFH?

(18 Posts)
blissful201 Mon 04-May-20 08:56:43

May I ask this question from a UK legal perspective?

The managers in my company, at the departmental and regional levels, want the staff to return to the office when the lockdown eases.

My question is: Legally speaking, are we entitled to refuse if we can show that we can do the work from home?

The reason is some of us are very reluctant to travel as long as there is no vaccine yet.

Can the mangers force you to go back to office instead of WFH?

Thank you

Bluntness100 Mon 04-May-20 09:00:57

What does your contract say?

The short answer is yes, you have no legal right to work from home, and your company has the right to dictate location as it deems fit.

It is seldom about one person is able to do it from home, more about managing the team, performance levels over all, issue resolution etc, so the view looking down is very often different to the view looking up.

frasersmummy Mon 04-May-20 09:01:47

As I understand it.... you have the right to submit a request to work flexibly and your work must look into this request.
But they can refuse on business grounds

GreytExpectations Mon 04-May-20 09:02:07

My question is: Legally speaking, are we entitled to refuse if we can show that we can do the work from home?

The decision to WFH is your employers, not yours. Therefore you can't legally enforce it. You can quite your job if you aren't prepared to work in the office, as requested.

blissful201 Mon 04-May-20 09:13:13

Thank you for your kind replies so far.

However, today the media reported:

"Reduced hot-desking and alternatives to social distancing where it is not possible are among measures being considered to let workplaces reopen.

A draft government plan to ease anti-coronavirus restrictions, seen by the BBC, also urges employers to minimise numbers using equipment, stagger shift times and maximise home-working.

The prime minister will reveal his "roadmap" out of lockdown on Sunday."

What do you think?

DateandTime Mon 04-May-20 09:36:44

I think you and the company need to wait and see what the new guidelines are but ultimately, yes, if you can't meet the business needs by working remotely they can insist you go into the office.

TooTrueToBeGood Mon 04-May-20 09:42:44

What do you think?

Based purely on the wording of that article, it sounds like whatever the government are considering will be guidelines, not mandated. If that is the case you still won't have a legal right to WFH. TBH, it would be absolute madness for the government to even try and mandate WFH.

SeriouslySoDoneIn Mon 04-May-20 09:45:49

If you refuse to go into work you can be fired. So it’s really whether or not you think that you need your job or not. Government aren’t going to make it law that you have to work from home and working from home isn’t a right that you have, it’s an allowance your company gives you that they can take away whenever they want.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 04-May-20 09:55:27

You may want to consider making a statutory request for flexible working which can include wfh. If you've got kids who can't be in school or have other care it might be reduced hours too.(for reduced pay obv)

You have the legal right to do this. The employer has the legal right to refuse if they have a good business reason. But it puts the onus on them to deal with the matter 'reasonable' and gives you grounds for an employment tribunal if they don't.

https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working

ilovemydogandMrObama Mon 04-May-20 10:20:12

Although there isn't any change to the usual legislation during Covid 19, an employer has to take reasonable measures to ensure the health and safety of their employees.

If an office is able to implement social distancing, or the recommended advice, it would be difficult to refuse to go back to the office if this is your usual place of work.

Mikikamp Mon 04-May-20 10:24:52

Today's leaks are saying that the vulnerable can continue to WFH if possible, which is great. Hope this is true.

Mikikamp Mon 04-May-20 10:26:07

In the second phase, I mean.

DateandTime Mon 04-May-20 10:32:37

"The vulnerable can continue to wfh if possible". That's no different to now or any other time. There's currently no obligation on employers to allow remote working, only guidance and employees normally have the right to ask for it "if possible"

Mikikamp Mon 04-May-20 11:12:21

What I meant is that I’m pleased they continue to specify that as a reasonable adjustment for the vulnerable. Many employers won’t agree to the vulnerable WFH but if it is in the official guidance then they have to.

user1487194234 Mon 04-May-20 19:32:12

I hope a lot of employers will be sympathetic in the short term to people working from home
But if not then people (unless vulnerable?)
will have to go back or quit

blue25 Mon 04-May-20 19:37:43

You have no legal right to wfh. You have to hope your employers will be flexible/empathetic.

Hillocrew Sat 23-May-20 13:07:48

Yes you will have to go back into the office if this is what your employers want. You can request in writing to be considered wfh but they can also refuse

dementedma Sat 23-May-20 13:20:47

I'm more worried about the opposite. Being forced to continue to WAH and not being allowed back in the office. I cant cope with it mentally much longer

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