CWU offers advice over permanent home working
One of the UK’s leading trade unions says anyone considering a permanent switch to working from home needs to carefully examine their new contract before signing.
As lockdown begins to ease some employers are looking at the long term future for their office and call centre workers.
In some cases workers are being offered the opportunity to continue working from home on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. In the main, any flexibility that employers offer to their employees as to how they work and where they work must be seen as a good thing. The Communication Workers Union CWU – which has 200,000 members – is urging workers to be careful before they agree to anything.
CWU West Yorkshire Branch Officer Mark Elwen explained: “Usually a change, such as moving from office to home working, will be classed as a contractual change which means changes to your terms and conditions of employment.
“It is important workers read and understand any changes their employer is proposing. For example what happens if you have a power cut or your broadband goes down? Will you still be paid or will you have to make time back? ”
Other terms that workers need to be aware of include:
Who can end home working and what sort of notice period would be required?
What level and what kind of monitoring will the employer have?
Who carries out safety checks on equipment and furniture?
What financial assistance, if any, will you receive to cover heating, electricity and broadband costs?
What sort of privacy from other family members or occupants will your employer require you to have?
Mark added: “Of course we welcome employers offering their workers some form of home working and we know many of our members would welcome this for all sorts of reasons. We are just advising workers to ensure they fully understand exactly what is being offered. Make sure there are no nasty surprises if things go wrong.”
Whilst many will jump at the chance to work from home there will also be large numbers of workers who simply cannot or do not want to work from home.
“These workers have to be protected as well,” said Mark. “We don’t want situations where people are feeling pressured to work from home, maybe, because employers are trying to reduce office costs.
“Whatever your employer is proposing we advise people to speak to their union if there is one in the workplace, or, if not you can still join a union, such as the CWU, who can advise you.”
Join the CWU’s West Yorkshire branch at www.cwu.org/join-us