As restrictions ease at different rates across the home nations it can be difficult to keep track of what the rules on returning to work are in each country. Set out below is a summary of the position in the week commencing 19 July.
All of Scotland is now on alert Level 0. Although a "gradual" return to office working was due to be part of the move to Level 0, this has now been put back to 9 August due to the impact of the Delta variant in Scotland. This means people are still advised to work from home where practicable. Organisations should make every reasonable effort to make working from home the default position, as it has been throughout the pandemic. There is updated guidance available to support employers and the self-employed to facilitate working from home and on returning to offices.
England moved to Step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown on 19 July. That means most restrictions, including the work from home where possible guidance, has been lifted. However, ministers are encouraging a gradual return to the workplace. The Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance has been updated to reflect these changes.
Wales mvoed to alert Level 1 with effect from 17 July, with hopes of lifting most covid restrictions with effect from 7 August. However even after 7 August people will continue to be asked to work from home where possible. Current guidance says people who are not able to work from home, but are able to work safely in their workplaces can do so as long as the workplace is permitted to be open. Guidance from the Welsh Government is available here.
In Northern Ireland employers are currently required to make every effort to help people work from home where they can, with the executive urging "work from home and stay at home". Where work cannot be done at home employers must take clear, practical steps to protect workers and create safe places to work. Guidance for employers is available here. The work from home message is due to be reviewed at an executive meeting on 12 August.
Health and Safety Executive - keeping workplaces safe as restrictions are eased
The latest information on any changes related to workplace safety during the pandemic as restrictions ease can be found on the Health and Safety Executive website. The page - which can be found here - also provides details of advice from public health bodies and other government departments on requirements that aren’t enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and with links to their guidance.