Welsh Government told to ‘urgently reconsider’ fines for those not working from home
The Welsh Government have been told to “urgently reconsider” fines for those who can work from home but aren’t doing so.
The leader of the Liberal Democrats in Wales, Jane Dodds, said that it would hurt those who were forced to come into work by their bosses.
Trade unions such as the GMB and TUC have both criticised the move which would see workers receive a £60 fixed penalty notice for breaking the work from home rule.
“This policy is not a solution to the problems we face and the Welsh Labour Government should amend it immediately,” Jane Dodds said.
“Employees should not be punished for potentially following the direction of a bad boss or employer who is not complying with instructions.
“Employers who are vulnerable to exploitation or coercion will be the most vulnerable to these fines and the Welsh Government has failed to understand that the relationship between employee and employer is most often not one of equals.
“I urge the Government to urgently reconsider”.
A Welsh Government spokesperson defended the rule, saying that the additional measures were introduced “to limit the spread of the virus and protect public health”.
“Further to our long-standing advice for people to work from home wherever possible, from Monday this will now be a legal requirement to work from home unless there is a reasonable excuse not to,” they said.
“We expect employers to take all reasonable steps to facilitate home working and provide employees with the support they need.”
But Wales TUC General Secretary Shavanah Taj said her reaction was one of “shock and concern”.
“A worker is not responsible for their place of work, their employer is,” she said. “This sets a really worrying precedent that the responsibility is somehow shared, and is at best naïve.”
Meanwhile GMB Senior organiser Kelly Andrews said it “strikes the wrong chord”.
“We have major worries that this could lead to bad employers pressuring their workers to work from home without a paper trail and place any financial risk on them,” she said.
“Those workers are also the most vulnerable and can least afford to take the financial hit. But the truth is for a lot of families a £60 fine over Christmas will have a severe financial impact.”