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Just Say No To A Legal Right To Work From Home

Come along people, let’s not be stupid. Sure, you’re politicians and bureaucrats and therefore know entirely sod all about the world. But even you aren’t going to be this sputum dribblingly idiotic, are you?

Britons could be given a legal right to work from home to ensure that they are not forced to go back to workplaces after the lockdown under plans being considered in Whitehall.

Officials at the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department have raised the issue of enshrining a right to work from home in law as part of a suite of options to ease the lockdown, The Telegraph can reveal.

One source said the idea of a legal right was suggested by officials during talks about the Government’s return to work package.

No, really, don’t do this. A legal right means that other people – undoubtedly the employer here – has to pay for this ability.

We have a certain difficulty with the shop girl hoping to work from home. That tailor is going to have difficulty with “Never mind the quality, feel the width sir!” over Zoom. Burgers have to be cooked in a particular location, coffee made on the High Street, not in the Arts Faculty.

Thus any “legal right” will have to be ameliorated with a “where practicable”, “by agreement”, “where possible” and so on.

Once that is done it’s not actually a legal right at all. Which obviates the law itself. It’s also true that behaviour is about to change anyway. That previous coordination of us all going in to work and coming back out again, we’ve broken that habit. We’ll soon enough coalesce around a different habit too.

What habit? What coordination? That will be emergent from the actions of 65 million individuals considering “where practicable”, “by agreement”, “where possible” and so on. There is no central rule that can be proffered that will do better than that either.

A legal right to work from home is ludicrous. A legal right to think about it irrelevant. So, let’s not do anything that stupid, eh?

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Bloke on M4
Bloke on M4
11 months ago

My thoughts exactly. It isn’t even as easy as distinguishing by job. Obviously the bloke manning the waltzer at the fun fair can’t, but programmers surely can, right?

Well, except even then it doesn’t work. When I’m going over a system change with users or testers, I prefer doing it face to face. It just works better. There’s companies with trade secrets that don’t like machines leaving the office. Google really would rather that the code for their search engine doesn’t leak out.

11 months ago

This, like a “right” to health care, is a “right” realized only by imposing a duty on someone else; in this case, a duty on the employer not to specify how the job is to be performed.

Apart from the fact that our global chest cold is dying out and this “right” is unnecessary, the real effect is to replace negotiation with regulation and litigation.

11 months ago

A “skivers’ charter” – how many people will work their full hours without taking time out when working from home?
I’m paid by results, not by the hour, and even I take time out when working at home – and have to make up for it later (sometimes by working into the small hours).
Part of the feminist agenda for “family-friendly” working that is designed to make sure that Mums get paid the same wage for doing half the work while supervising children.

11 months ago

Couple it with an employer’s right to not pay for such nonsense and it should be harmless.

11 months ago

The cause of the problem is government action. So the cure is more action.

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