UK financial sector calls for caution over any work from home law
How people divide their working hours between home and office should not be forced into law, senior financial services industry officials said today.
Britain has hinted that it may legislate to allow employees to work flexibly by dividing their time between the office and home, despite the government previously pushing back against suggestions that it could become law.
New legislation would build on the experience of millions who have worked from home since the pandemic started in March last year.
Many companies have already said they plan a mix of remote and office working once Covid restrictions are lifted.
‘Legislation would be inappropriate’
“This is going to evolve, clearly, and that’s why legislation would be inappropriate,” Bruce Carnegie-Brown, chairman of the Lloyd’s of London insurance market, told City & Financial’s City Week event.
“We have to allow different sectors of the economy to adapt in different ways to address this opportunity, frankly, for a more mixed economy of remote and physical work.”
Carnegie-Brown said the return to the office should be treated carefully so those working from home did not feel excluded.
Karan Bilimoria, president of the Confederation of British Industry, said employers should make their own decisions on the future of working patterns.
“It would be the wrong thing to force this to happen, it should evolve in its own way,” Bilimoria said.
Anna Richards, chief executive of asset manager Fidelity International, said companies had to think hard about what they are asking people to come to the workplace to do and what can be done from home.
“Ultimately it will become something of a competitive advantage if you can get the balance right on some of these things, give people a bit more flexibility to act as grown-ups,” she said.
“I don’t think a legislative approach probably is the right answer, I think this will find its own natural equilibrium.”