Please note: the legal advice given in this article is correct as of 24/03/20. As the situation develops, guidance is subject to change and, while we will do our best to give you up to date information, it is always advisable to speak with a solicitor for specific advice.
Boris Johnson has placed the UK on lockdown as the government seeks to stem the spread of coronavirus, and preventing travel to and from work unless it is essential.
Yesterday evening, the Prime Minister announced: “Travelling to and from work [is permitted], but only where it is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home“. That was ambiguous, in that it was not clear whether the work had to be necessary, or whether the travel to get there had to be necessary.
A short while after, the Government published a document entitled Full guidance on staying at home and away from others, which states that “Travelling to and from work [is permitted], but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.”
The release of this guidance put a slightly different slant on things: it suggested the work did not need to be ‘necessary’, merely that it ‘absolutely cannot’ be done from home. This was then followed by a social media post from the Government stating that: “The only reasons you may leave home [are]: … to go to work (if you’re a key worker)”
That again, suggested that the work had to be necessary, and if it was not (i.e. if you were not a key worker), you should not go to work today.
The formal guidance does not make any reference to only key workers being able to work, or that travelling should only be “necessary” but instead that travel to and from work is permitted where the work cannot be done from home.
Unless there is any further Government guidance on this, the current position is believed to be that anyone can go to work provided their work cannot be done from home.
It is believed regulations will come out from the Prime Minister’s announcement last night and we will keep you updated with this as and when the information is released.
Farleys Solicitors specialise in employment law & HR for businesses and employees. If you or your business requires HR & employment law advice and support in relation to the current Covid-19 / Coronavirus situation and/or in relation to any other specific area of employment law please do not hesitate to contact us on 0845 287 0939 or send your enquiry by email.