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ACAS Shares Advice on Hybrid Working

ACAS Shares Advice on Hybrid Working
26 August 2021 | Updated 24 August 2021
 

ACAS has shared new advice for employers wanting to support hybrid working and execute it fairly.

The pandemic has shown us that not everyone is treated equally when it comes to working from home. One example of this relationship between hybrid working and gender. Statistics demonstrate that women have been negatively affected by the pandemic in terms of work progression – due to taking on the majority of childcare and household responsibilities.

According to the Office for National Statistics, during the first weeks of lockdown (28 March to 26 April 2020), in households with children aged under 18 years, women were carrying out on average two-thirds more of the childcare duties per day than men. Women were delivering an average of 3 hours and 18 minutes of childcare, which includes time spent supervising children, while men contributed 2 hours.

Whether you're considering or introducing hybrid working, or if it's already in place, you should make sure you treat staff fairly and equally, taking care to not exclude or discriminate.

 

Treating Staff Fairly in Hybrid Working

 

Wherever an employee is working, you should give them access to the same:

 

  • Work.
  • Support, including access to their representatives (for example, a recognised trade union).
  • Opportunities for training, development and promotion.

 

Line managers should communicate regularly with everyone they manage and an employee should not miss out on anything because of where they work.

For example, schedule meetings or use technology to make sure everyone can take part in conversations and activities. Do not give people better or worse jobs depending on where they work.

 

Direct and Indirect Discrimination 

 

Lawfully, you must not disadvantage an employee because of any protected characteristic– for example, age, sexual orientation or disability.

For example, an employer refuses a hybrid working request from a female employee because they think she'll be distracted by her children. They accept a similar request from a male employee who has children. This is "direct discrimination".

You must not implement a policy or practice which has a disproportionate impact on people with a protected characteristic. For example, an employer does not allow hybrid working for anyone in a particular role. This disadvantages an employee who is disabled and finds it difficult to travel to the workplace every day. Because the employer does not have a good business reason for this decision, this is "indirect discrimination".

If an employee is disabled, you must make reasonable adjustments when they are in the workplace and working remotely.

 

Are Pay Cuts For Choosing to Work From Home Full-Time Fair?

 

Recently, a senior minister told a national newspaper that civil servants who work remotely “aren't paying their commuting costs so they have had a de facto pay rise, so that is unfair on those who are going into work”. 

The General Secretary of the civil servant’s union, The FDA, rebuked this by telling GB News that remote work benefits both employers and employees: 

The CIPD recommends that, if employers want to revise pay, the lowest risk option is to commence a process of seeking agreement to the new terms and conditions. Alternatives include, for example, imposing a new pay structure for new starters perhaps phasing out things such as a London weighting.

Picture: a photograph of a person working from a standing desk 

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 26 August 2021

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