Our monthly round up of the COVID-19 news affecting employment law
Changes to work from home rules
With the emergence of Omicron, changes have been made to the rules on working from home. With effect from 17 December businesses in Scotland are required, by law, to take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of the incidence and spread of coronavirus. According to the Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer businesses and workplaces guidance supporting employees to work from home where reasonably practical is an important part of that. In England, those that are able to work from home should do so with effect from 13 December. For more information on the work from home rules around the UK see our blog, Working from home - Current Government guidance around the UK.
Workplace health and safety for pregnant women during the pandemic
A new report Unsafe and unsupported: workplace health and safety for pregnant women in the pandemic published by Maternity Action has highlighted inadequate health and safety rules and advice for women during the current pandemic. The report claims inconsistent guidance has caused pregnant women to either work in unsafe conditions or take a financial hit to avoid doing so. The report notes this is an ongoing concern. The JCVI has recently made pregnant women a priority group for vaccination following research showing that they are more vulnerable to serious illness and pregnancy complications if infected with Covid-19.
Temporary extension to self-certification of sickness to 28 days
New regulations - The Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 2021 - have come into effect temporarily extending the period employees can self-certify for from 7 to 28 days. The measure is intended to relieve the burden on GPs over the coming weeks and only applies to periods of sickness starting on or before 26 January 2022.
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