22 July 2021

Covid-19: returning to work after 19 July

As England moves to Step 4 of the roadmap, Government advice is that is no longer necessary for employees to work from home. We cover what it may mean for our members.

As England moves to step 4 of the roadmap, government advice is that is no longer necessary for employees to work from home and employers can start to plan a return to workplaces from 19 July 2021.

The legally required measures to reduce the spread of infection such as wearing face coverings and social distancing will be lifted in England but may continue in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland for some time yet.

Businesses still have a legal duty to manage risks in their places of employment and this should be done through regular health and safety risk assessments.

PCS opposes proposals for the mass return to offices until community transmission is being effectively managed and where our members feel they cannot attend the workplace safely and without placing their own health and wellbeing at risk.

The union is campaigning that national law and guidance in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland must be followed, social distancing must remain in place, face coverings should be used in communal areas and any existing screens should also remain in place.

We believe that vulnerable employees, including those not vaccinated, should be allowed to remain working from home until the risk of infection has been reduced further.

Any risk assessments should include travel to work and must be undertaken in advance of staff returning to the workplace.

Consideration should be made by employers to future ways of working which should include the chance to partially work from home on a permanent basis

In the commercial sector in PCS, we have members in Atos and facilities management services who have been attending the office throughout the pandemic to make sure workplaces were open for key workers. We believe these workers should be recognised for the sacrifice they have made on behalf of the whole country and this should be reflected in any pay rises we negotiate on their behalf.

Further coronavirus advice and FAQs are available on the PCS website.

Jim Knotts, group secretary