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Government Announcement – Lock Down – Can Staff go to Work today?

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Last night Boris Johnson (Prime Minister) announced amongst other things, “travelling to and from work [is permitted], but only where it is absolutely neccessary and cannot be done from home.”

What does this mean?

This was ambigious. It was not clear whether the work had to be neccessary or whether the travel to get to work had to be neccessary.

Later last night, the government published a document entitled Full guidance on Staying away from home and others. This stated “Travelling to and from work [is permitted] but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.” It appeared from this that the work did not need to be “neccessary”, rather that it “absolutely cannot” be done from home.

The government then sent out a Tweet stating “the only reasons you may leave home [are]:..to go to work [if you are a key worker].”

This then suggested that the work had to be neccessary and if is was not because you where not a key worker you should not go into work today. That however was a vague Tweet and still did not give certainty.

Finally, Andy Burnham (Mayor of Manchester) Tweeted, “OK, final tweet tonight everyone. Have now spoken to No10 and had it confirmed that people CAN leave home to work – as long as they fully observe the 2m distancing rule. Seems to me to be in conflict with the big #StayAtHome message. But that’s the offical policy. Over and Out!”

Assuming this is right it suggests that anyone can go to work provided their work cannot be done from home.

It is anitcipated we will get clarity from the government on this very soon and most probably today.

Employers will need to consider more closely all options for their staff, if they have not already done so, like home working and utilising the coronavirus job rention scheme.

Astons Solicitors
24th March 2020