Working from home: guidance ends in England but remains in Scotland

Government called time on policy yesterday, but advice is set to remain in place north of the border until next month


Government guidance to for employees across England to work from home where possible ended yesterday, but similar advice is set to remain in place in Scotland at least until next month.

Ministers yesterday announced the phased end of the plan B measures that, since 13 December, included official advice for workers in England to perform their duties from home, if possible. That guidance was brought to an immediate end yesterday.

“People should speak to their employers about arrangements for returning to the office, and should follow the working safely guidance,” the government said.

The removal of other plan B measures will follow in stages, with face coverings no longer required in schools from today, and in all other settings from 27 January – at which point large events and nightclubs will also no longer be legally required to ask attendees to provide an NHS Covid Pass.

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Scotland is also in the process of removing restrictions introduced following the outbreak of the omicron variant; from Monday, all nightclubs will be allowed to reopen, indoor contact sports can resume, the limit of three households on indoor gatherings will be lifted, and the requirement for table service in pubs and restaurants will end.

But the guidance to work from home remains in place for the time being. The Scottish Government intends to engage with business representatives in the coming days, with a plan to update advice next month to reflect a widespread switch to a hybrid working model.

The use of vaccine passports – delivered via the NHS Scotland Covid Status app – will continue to be required at nightclubs and large events, but the scheme will not be extended to other hospitality venues.

In Wales, meanwhile, guidance to work from home is due to end on 28 January, as part of a planned phased approach to the removal of restrictions. 

The country will keep the requirement for the use of the NHS Covid pass at theatres, cinemas, concerts, nightclubs, and large events.

Northern Ireland introduced guidance asking employees to work from home where possible two months ago. That advice remains in place.


Sam Trendall

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