Duty Of Care – Working From Home

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:

  1. Is the employee covered under the Employers Liability insurance? For example,  in case of an accident at work.
  2. Has the employer undertaken the required Health & Safety checks in the employee’s “workplace”? For example, are all trip hazards identified and mitigated?
  3. Does working from home comply with the “lone worker policy”? For example, if the employee has a stroke or heart attack?
  4. Has the employer ensured that there is an evacuation policy? For example, in case of fire.
  5. Does the desk, chair, lighting, etc, comply with Health & Safety requirements? For example, do they create an ergonomic workspace?
  6. 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?
  7. Does the home insurance, both contents and property, become null and void if the home is used for work?
  8. Must the employee inform their own insurer? For example, if not mentioned, will the policy be null and void if a claim is made?
  9. Must the employee inform their mortgage provider that their home is being used for work?
  10. 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.

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