COVID 19:

Working From Other People’s Homes


In line with the Government’s recent update, those who can work from home should do so. However, it is acknowledged that it may not be possible for providers of home services to work from home. As a result, adherence to secure guidelines is important in reducing transmission risk. This briefing provides a summary of Section 2 and 2.2 of the Government guidance regarding working from other people’s homes and specifically, who should go to work. This area of the guidance was updated on 24th September 2020.


COVID Safe Guidelines


Employers should communicate with their employees and decide whether they can attend their workplace safely. Individual circumstances should be considered, including employee commute, whether employees are carers, protected characteristics and additional personal circumstances, with particular consideration for those belonging to higher risk groups. Employers should develop a COVID-19 workplace risk assessment and take action to manage transmission risk. The graphic below displays important steps that should be taken when working in other people’s homes.

 

Beyond individual employee consideration, employers should also consider the implications associated with employees returning to work in the wider community. There are four steps that employers should take.

  1. Plan for a gradual return to work that is both safe and effective.

  2. Find remote alternatives to physical work and attending people’s homes, ensuring that this can be done in a way that is both safe and effective and that those undertaking remote work are connected to their colleagues.

  3. Discuss working practices with households and clients, in advance of a physical visit, to confirm how the work will be undertaken.

  4. Remain in regular contact with employees to monitor their welfare, security, and mental and physical health.

  5. Ensure that the number of people working on site is limited and that social distancing guidelines can be adhered to


    Protecting People at Higher Risk

    Some groups are at higher risk of infection and/or are adversely affected by the virus, which should be considered when conducting a risk assessment. This includes older males, those with a high BMI, those with pre-existing health conditions and those from some Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. As announced on 1 August, extremely vulnerable individuals can return to work if ‘COVID-secure guidelines’ are implemented, however, where possible, they should work from home and should be offered priority for the safest available on-site roles. There are three steps that employers should take.
  1. Provide support to employees, through the issuance of guidelines and telephone support, particularly surrounding wellbeing.

  2. Utilise current guidance for advice regarding who is in these groups.

  3. Ensure clinically extremely vulnerable employees who cannot work from home are placed in the safest possible roles.


    People Who Need to Self-Isolate

    To reduce the spread of infection, individuals who have been advised to stay at home under current government guidance should not physically attend work. This may include employees with symptoms or those required to self-isolate under test and trace. There are four steps that employers should take;
  1. Enable employees to work from home while self-isolating if possible. From 28th September, it is against the law for employers to knowingly ask or encourage employees to come into work if they are aware that they are required to self-isolate.

  2. Utilise guidance regarding statutory sick pay for both employees and employers for absence due to COVID-19.

  3. Ensure employees with symptoms of COVID-19, or who have tested positive for COVID-19 follow government guidance regarding self-isolation.

  4. Ensure employees who live with others who have symptoms of COVID-19 or who have tested positive for COVID-19 follow government guidance regarding self-isolation.


    Workplace Equality

    In the application of this guidance, workers should ensure nobody is discriminated against.There are five steps that employers should take;
  1. Employers should understand and account for the specific requirements of those with protected characteristics.

  2. Employers should involve and communicate with employees with protected characteristics, regarding any wider company steps that may place them at additional risk or be inappropriate or difficult for them.

  3. Employers should consider whether any additional adjustments should be made to ensure they are accounting for their duties under Equalities Legislation.

  4. Reasonable adjustments should be made to avoid disabled workers being placed at a disadvantage and the health and safety risk for new or expectant mothers should be assessed.

  5. It should be ensured that steps taken do not have negative implications on some groups in comparison with others, that are unjustified.

More information can be found in the Government Guidance Documents.


_