'We won't make it compulsory to return to the office' says minister

‘We won’t make it compulsory to return to the office’: Minister Kit Malthouse says ministers ARE looking at making it easier to work from home and its something for firms and their staff to decide between them

  • He said decisions on working from home were for employers and their staff 
  • Ministers to consult on flexible working plans later this year
  • Some employers fear they will be blocked from insisting staff attending offices
  • But flexible working is hugely popular with the working public, polls show 

Ministers have no plans to make it compulsory for workers to return to their regular place of work full-time, a senior minister confirmed today.

Policing minister Kit Malthouse said that decisions on whether working from home could continue after the end of lockdown were matters for employers and their staff to negotiate.

Proposals for a legal right to flexible working have sparked fears employers will be blocked from insisting staff attending offices unless they can prove it is essential.

However the idea of splitting the week between the home and the office has proved popular with the public. 

The Government will consult on the plan – originally pledged in the 2019 Tory manifesto – over the summer ahead of possible legislation later this year.

 Mr Malthouse told Sky News today: ‘This is a situation for employers and employees to discuss and negotiate themselves.

‘I know there has been some media about this over the last two or three days, we don’t have any intention to make it compulsory to return to the office.

‘Our manifesto at the last election did contain a pledge to consult on more flexible working to allow people to work from home should they wish to, and we will be doing that later on this year.’

Policing minister Kit Malthouse said that decisions on whether working from home could continue after the end of lockdown were matters for employers and their staff to negotiate.

The Government will consult on the plan – originally pledged in Boris Johnson’s 2019 Tory manifesto – over the summer ahead of possible legislation later this year.

Last night No10 today poured cold water on the idea of working from home becoming the ‘default’ – insisting there are ‘clear benefits’ from being in offices. 

However its plans will include measures allowing more choice, aimed at parents and others who need more flexibility. 

No10 has insisted this is not the same as a ‘legal right to work from home’. 

It ca,e as union chiefs warned increased homeworking could create a new class divide.

The TUC said nine out of 10 people who worked from home during the pandemic want to continue doing their job remotely at least some of the time.

There is also strong demand for other forms of flexible working such as control over working hours, it was suggested.

A survey of more than 2,000 workers by the TUC found people in higher-paid occupations are more likely to have worked from home during the pandemic than those in working-class jobs.

Those who cannot work from home are significantly more likely to be denied flexible working options by employers after the pandemic, it warned.

The TUC says ministers should bring in the right to flexible working for every employee, regardless of where they work or what job they do, and that every job should be advertised with flexible working options.

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