Unions have criticised the new rules in Wales where employees who go into work will be fined, if they can work from home. 

Companies will be given a fine of £1,000 every time they break the rule and workers who leave the house get a £60 fine. 

The £1000 fine could also go up to £10,000 if businesses repeatedly break the work from home rules. 

 

From Monday:

The enforcement starts on Monday; previously there was just guidance to encourage home working. 

It has also been reported that any worker from Wales who goes to work in England from Monday, will be fined once they return to Wales.

The TUC said employees should not be personally fined as the responsibility for going into the office should be on those employers who insist on workers at desks. 

GMB union said these penalties target the poorest and most vulnerable employees who would find a £60 fine difficult at Christmas. It suggested bad employers might hold their workers liable to escape the £1,000 penalty.

The Welsh government said: “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. 

“We expect employers to take all reasonable steps to facilitate home working and provide employees with the support they need.”

The Welsh Liberal Democrats called on the government to scrap the £60 fine for employees.

 

Businesses could see huge fines

Any business owners who do not comply with the new rules could also see their premises shut down, along with the fine of up to £10,000.

Wales TUC general secretary Shavanah Taj said she was shocked by the decision: 

“A worker is not responsible for their place of work, their employer is. This sets a really worrying precedent that the responsibility is somehow shared, and is at best naive.”

Senior organiser Kelly Andrews from the GMB union said: “We think this strikes the wrong chord. 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.”

At the moment, the rules in England are “work from home, if you can”, announced by the Prime Minister earlier this month, with no enforcement on restrictions. 

However, health leaders have said they expect further restrictions as the Omicron variant spreads quicker than other variants.