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Working from home guidance will be reimposed in England from Monday.
The Prime Minister has announced that workers in England who can work from home should work from home from Monday as concerns rise about the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
The work from home guidance is linked to businesses’ legal duty to manage Covid risks for both their employees and customers. Employers can call people into the office, but only if they cannot adequately do their job from home. Some employers are reported to be interpreting this fairly broadly, for instance, PwC will allow people to come to the office if working from home will badly affect their mental health.
The announcement also included extended use of masks in settings such as theatres and cinemas from Friday as well as Covid passports for venues hosting large numbers of people from next Wednesday, although you can also get in if you have a negative lateral flow test. It comes after the restrictions announced last week on travel, wearing masks on public transport and in shops and on isolation for those linked to people who test positive for Omicron.
In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has asked employers to let all those who can work from home do so until at least mid-January. In Wales, employers have been asked to let people work from home if they can, with guidance setting out that people should not be pressured to return to the office unless there is a clear business need. In Northern Ireland employers are being encouraged to support home working where possible.
England lifted working from home guidance in July. Anyone who tests positive for Omicron in England must isolate for 10 days and so must all their contacts. In Scotland, anyone who tests positive for any Covid variant and their close contacts have to isolate.