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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 64746
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have been told by my employer that I can’t work from home

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I have been told by my employer that I can’t work from home during the Coronavirus as I have an 18 month old who is now not at nursery and I can’t look after him and work. I was told I would have to take unpaid leave until he is back at nursery
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: I discussed it with my manager and she said it wasn’t her decision and I’ve emailed HR however they are all working from home and it could take weeks to hear from them
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: I am employed but I’m currently a week away from the end of my probation so also feel very vulnerable
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: other members of my team and fellow employees have been allowed to work from home who have older children, I offered to reduce my days to spread the hours even if they were unconventional and outside of 9-5 but was told that wasn’t suitable due to the nature of the work we do. I have asked if i can be furloughed under the government’s new ruling last Friday but again have heard nothing back.

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. I may also need to ask some questions to determine the legal position.

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Ok thank you

How long have you worked for your employer?

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
5 months and 3 weeks

Thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Many thanks for your patience. First of all you cannot expect to be furloughed unless there is no work for you and the business is closing down temporarily as a result. In other words, if your job is still there and can be done, there is no furlough situation.

 

In terms of working from home, it is encouraged for employers to offer that to employees in order to avoid people mixing in the workplace, but it is not mandatory. If the employer is not allowing you to work from home then it is a question of taking unpaid leave, self-isolating if you meet the criteria and getting sick pay, or taking short periods of dependency leave where you are taking unpaid time to deal with unexpected situations involving your kids, but as this is a situation that is already known it is not an emergency.

 

I appreciate this may not be the answer you were hoping for but it is the legal position and I hope that it at least clarifies where you stand?

 

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Thank you for getting back to me, I understand and thank you for clarifying, do I have any grounds to argue my employer not allowing me to work from home when all the other employees are now working from home, some of whom are in the same situation as myself in that they have children to care for and arrangements have been made for them to spread their hours etc and yet they are unwilling to that for me?

There is no legal ground to argue that but there is of course nothing stopping you from raising this with them, but what I mean is that legally they are allowed to treat you differently if they wanted to – it is unethical, not illegal.

 

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