A Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) employee contacted me to ask if I believed that requesting employees to work from home would result in a breach of the Duty of Care SBC have towards their employees.
Mike Greene, SBC Chief Executive
When working from home, the home becomes a workplace. In such a situation, I would have various concerns in relation to the Duty of Care the employer has towards the employee. These include:
- Is the employee covered under the Employers Liability insurance? For example, in case of an accident at work.
- Has the employer undertaken the required Health & Safety checks in the employee’s “workplace”? For example, are all trip hazards identified and mitigated?
- Does working from home comply with the “lone worker policy”? For example, if the employee has a stroke or heart attack?
- Has the employer ensured that there is an evacuation policy? For example, in case of fire.
- Does the desk, chair, lighting, etc, comply with Health & Safety requirements? For example, do they create an ergonomic workspace?
- Are documents stored at each “home workplace” complying with the DPA and GDPR? For example, if a partner brings a coffee to the employee, will data security be breached?
- Does the home insurance, both contents and property, become null and void if the home is used for work?
- Must the employee inform their own insurer? For example, if not mentioned, will the policy be null and void if a claim is made?
- Must the employee inform their mortgage provider that their home is being used for work?
- Are members of the public permitted and insured to enter the “workplace”? For example, the employee’s children, partner and/or cleaner.
The above is not exhaustive but raises valid concerns of working from home for both the employee and the employer.
I have raised my concerns with Mike Greene, SBC Chief Executive.
I would suggest that employees and employers of all companies and Government bodies give consideration to the legal requirements of working from home, prior to doing so.