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Staff are being asked to go to work to complete admin tasks for a small amount of hours a week.

 

The employer's website says clearly "staff are not to go into buildings unless the work is essential".

 

The work being asked is to check an update client files.  These are reviewed on a revolving basis.

 

Does this constitute essential work?  I asked my union but they said "in these challenging times do what you are asked".

 

  

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Essential to the future of the business, or essential to the health of the nation?

 

Two different answers...


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Neither - this is the council.

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4 minutes ago, caring guy said:

Neither - this is the council.

I don't know why the council think it is essential - have you asked?

 

I don't know what the records being updated are. In the current environment if its council tax rebates/discounts, rates discounts, liaison between care agencies for those in lockdown with abusers, stuff about essential building repairs and refuse collection hygiene services  - that's essential in my opinion. Other stuff, I don't know.

 

It's all just opinion, though. Mine's no better than yours or anyone else's.


Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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the question is going to be asked this week by another member of staff.

 

The things you asked are not the work being undertaken.  It's very difficult to say everything without identifying the whole situation but thanks for your quick replies.

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I’m not sure the govt documents actually use the word essential with regards to working. Rather it is essential to work from home unless that is not possible and then you can go to your place of work as long as social distancing etc can be met. 
They may consider that keeping records up to date ensures supplier payments, keeps tennents from being sent late payment notifications etc which it may not be possible to do that from home? 

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As CraigMcK said the government has not told people only to go to work if their work is essential. There seems to be a frequent misunderstanding  about this in online discussions but the guidance itself is clear. Whether you should work from home depends on whether it is possible to do your work from home. Not whether it is "essential work". So can you work from home? That's what you need to discuss with your bosses.

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

4. Should I stay at home or go to work?

You may travel for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.

 

Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services such as train and bus drivers.

 

Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.

 

6. How can I find out if my work is essential or not?

The government is not saying only people doing “essential” work can go to work. Anyone who cannot work from home can still go to work.

.

.

Every worker – whether critical or not – should work from home if they can but may otherwise travel to work.

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After the manager was confronted they said it was voluntary (if you wanted to go in).

 

The website was quoted and they claimed to know nothing about it.   I then suggested that as they were a manager they should be aware of the council's policy.

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So presumably it is not possible to work from home?

 

My wife works for a local authority and so do a lot of our friends.  All of them are working from home.  And my wife has been involved with colleagues in identifying and collating information about service users (and others) who may be particularly vulnerable at the moment.

 

Unless you are directly involved in providing care services to clients (or are supporting staff who do do that) or you are doing manual work (like necessary maintenance) then I'd probably query whether you should be doing it.  I'd expect pretty much all information files to be remotely accessible from home.

 

Your union have just said "go ahead and do it"?  I'm a little surprised.

 

Your manager is not aware of the council's policy.  Have you pointed it out to him?  (Sorry - I see you have and he's said the work is voluntary).

 

Are you actually employed by the council or do you work for a third party providing a contracted-out service?

 

 

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I work directly for the council and the job i normally do is 98% with clients and 2% on a computer. 

 

We do not have laptops.  We cannot work from home as the work we do is with clients mainly out in the community.

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Posted (edited)

Then without knowing more, it sounds like work you can't do from home.

 

If you are visiting clients in the community (in their own homes?) then I would question whether the council policy you quote actually applies to your work.  You said:  The employer's website says clearly "staff are not to go into buildings unless the work is essential".  I take buildings to mean council offices etc.  If your employer provides a service to clients in the community, what does the policy specifically state about those circumstances?  I would be surprised if this had been ignored when drawing up the policy as it would seem pretty obvious to me.

 

In your OP you talk about the work being updating files, but it sounds to me like it's the contact with clients that is important.  I'm surprised your manager has said it's voluntary, unless it really isn't important.

 

Without more detail it's impossible to say.  I can understand why you may not want to reveal more.

Edited by Manxman in exile

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'After the manager was confronted they said it was voluntary (if you wanted to go in)'.

 

That is a great help in these difficult times................confrontation.

 

H


42 years at the pointy end of the motor trade. :eek:

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It was very helpful as some people were driving 20 miles to do pointless office work.

 

Now they are no longer risking themselves or their families needlessly.

 

Sometimes you have to confront people.

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