Do I have to approve home working?

Written by Jennifer Ormond
16 March, 2020

Coronavirus Help • March 16, 2020

Do I have to approve home working?

Written by Jennifer Ormond

We have received many queries about working from home due to Covid-19. Here we share our top 2 questions from today.

Question 1

My employee wants to work from home due to concerns that she could pass on Covid-19 to her mother who has a heart condition and type-2 diabetes. I need her in the office to supervise our apprentice, her desk is 5 meters from anyone else and we employee less than 5 people.

Acting on our advice, our client interviewed the employee who explained:
– Her children are still attending school;
– She is not self-isolating;
– She is carrying on as normal other than wanting to go to the office;
– She drives to work

 

Answer

We advised that our client could reject the request to work from home. The employee is not self-isolating and working from home is the only step she was prepared to take to protect her mother. Taking everything into consideration, it was not a formal flexible working request and attending work (driving in) was not putting her at any further risk but it was going to have an impact on business.

We drafted a letter explaining the above in full on behalf of the client.

 

Question 2

My employee’s mother looks after her child on a Monday. Her mother is over 70 and is now self-isolating and therefore cannot look after the child. My employee wants to work from home whilst looking after the child (1 years old), do we have to allow this?

 

Answer

No. We advised the employer that they do not have to permit the employee to work from home – how can she do so when looking after a 1 year old? Instead, this is a request for emergency time off for the care of a dependant which is a statutory right. The employer therefore must permit this time off whist her parents self-isolate but it is unpaid and only as long as no other provisions can be made for the care of the child.

We drafted an email response to the employee explaining the above.

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