One in five going into workplace unnecessarily, as bosses pile on pressure

While individuals are being fined for breaking lockdown rules, not one single employer has been prosecuted.

12 Feb 2021| News

New figures from the TUC have revealed that 19% – around one in five – workers is attending their workplace despite being able to do their job from home.

The largest driving factor behind this trend, which unnecessarily raises the risk of catching and spreading Coronavirus, was bosses exerting pressure on their staff to physically attend work. Two in five (40%) of respondents to a YouGov poll commissioned by the TUC cited this as the main reason they do not work from home.

Although the government has repeatedly said that everybody who can work from home ought to be doing so, hundreds of people have complained to their unions that their boss was forcing them to break this rule.

But enforcement has been at best inadequate, and too often non-existent. While headline after headline describes individuals being slapped with hefty fines for breaching lockdown parameters, no employer has been penalised for the same wrongdoing.

“No one should be forced into the office or another workplace if they can do their job from home. Bad bosses are needlessly putting workers at risk and increasing transmission in local communities,” General Secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, told the Guardian.

“It’s time to end the foot-dragging approach to enforcement that has characterised workplace safety in this pandemic,” she said.

Outgoing employer adviser to the government, Matthew Taylor, said Johnson’s administration are doing “half a job” when it came to regulating workplaces during the crisis.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) refused to release any figures or reports it had drafted on the issue.