Q: I worked from home throughout lockdown. Grateful to still have a job I stood the cost of extra heating bills and other costs associated with being home all day instead of in my employer’s offices. When lockdown ended, we were all told the offices were being sold and we should continue to work at home. However, we were not given new contracts and there has been no mention of any financial compensation for having to permanently foot the bill for such as our own heating costs. Considering the recent energy price hikes this seems very unfair. Is there anything we can do about it?
A: Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996) requires an employer to give employees a written statement of particulars of employment known as a section 1 statement. Normally this will be in the form of a contract of employment and included in the statutory terms will be the place of work. If any terms change, an employer is required under section 4 of the ERA 1996 to issue a written statement of any changes.
Some contracts of employment include a mobility clause that determines where an employee can work from. If your employment contract contains such a clause your employer may rely on that clause to require you to work from home. If there is no mobility clause in your contract and you refuse to consent to work from home permanently, then your employer could make you redundant.
Making you redundant may however be more costly for your employer than him or her agreeing to a supplement payment to cover such as your heating costs or giving you a pay rise. This could therefore provide a point for negotiation. If you choose to continue working for your employer and have to do so permanently from home, without a mobility clause your employer must issue you with a written statement to reflect the change of workplace.
This question has been answered by James Denton, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194