NI: Proposed legal right to work from home ‘difficult to enforce’

NI: Proposed legal right to work from home 'difficult to enforce'

Louise McAloon

A proposed new legal right for employees to work from home would be difficult to meaningfully enforce, a Belfast solicitor has said.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is currently considering the introduction of a new statutory right to work from home in order to support the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, according to The Telegraph.

However, Louise McAloon, head of employment law at Worthingtons Solicitors, said the government would have to create exceptions and an entire mechanism to determine which jobs would fall under the proposed law.

Ms McAloon told the Belfast Telegraph: “If they’re going to create a statutory right it would have to have bells and whistles around it, such as what reason would be legitimate for an employer saying you can’t work from home.

“There would also have to be the right to challenge that to a tribunal. You would create the right to appeal and potential referral claims to an industrial tribunal, which aren’t sitting at the moment and are unlikely to until July 1.

“How would you police or enforce that right?”

She added: “Most employers have embraced the concept that if people can work from home they should be facilitated to do that.

“I think the idea of giving them a legal right to work from home is going to be fairly difficult to implement and potentially difficult to enforce. By the time you enforce it with an appeal process and an industrial tribunal, the lockdown might be well over at that stage.”

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