The House of Lords COVID-19 committee has acknowledged that hybrid working is here to stay. In the report Beyond Digital: Planning for a Hybrid World the COVID-19 committee acknowledged that hybrid working was always going to come at some point, but the pandemic has accelerated it.
The COVID-19 committee have recommended that the Government prepare for hybrid working and introduce new legislation to strengthen employment rights. They have also recommended that the Government introduce new legislation to support the move to a digital way of working.
A clear theme in the report is that if new legislation is not introduced then there is a real risk of inequality. Therefore, the COVID-19 committee have made numerous recommendations to combat inequalities that could arise by hybrid working. For example, they have recommended:
- Strengthening and modernising the current employment rights. For e.g., by introducing a right to switch-off from work when at home, clarify who is responsible for meeting the costs of remote working and modernise legislation to deal with workplace monitoring.
- Introduce new legislation to provide platform workers (for e.g., Uber drivers) with defined and enhanced employment rights.
- A new Digital Skills for Work Framework for England so that people have the skills to meet the needs of the hybrid world.
- Digital training for certain workers such as teachers and medical professionals
These are just some of the recommendations by the COVID-19 committee and the Government is under no obligation to implement them. However, employers should take note of some of the recommendations. Employers should consider whether they should implement digital training to their employees now. They may also want to update their HR policies to deal with employee wellbeing when working from home and update their workplace monitoring policies. Overall employers should review their policies and see if they are fit for purpose for hybrid working.
Read the full report Beyond Digital: Planning for a Hybrid World (parliament.uk)
For further information on HR policies and best practice, please contact our employment lawyers.