CBI calls for more clarity as UK scraps work from home guidance

The government wants employees and employers to "work out for themselves" whether they continue with remote work

UK prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that the government's working from home guidance will be scrapped on 19 July as part of plans to lift the country's remaining COVID restrictions.

Johnson said that it was now a decision for employees and employers to "work out for themselves" during a news conference on Monday evening.

The announcement came as part of a plan to fully lift all COVID restrictions, such as requirements to wear masks and social distancing, which will be removed later this month. The government's decision seems to be based on the success of the vaccine rollout, with a claim that the "overwhelming proportion" of the workforce has had two jabs, which it said equalled a "huge wall of immunity". 

However, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called for more support for businesses to help their decision making, risk assessments, and, ultimately, boost confidence in both employees and customers. 

The organisation's director general, Tony Danker, said the announcement would provide "huge relief" for UK businesses that have struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic. Many of those will be shops and restaurants along high streets and popular commuter routes that have been starved of footfall traffic while people have worked from home. 

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"Critical now will be to build both customer and employee confidence in living with the virus," Danker told IT Pro. "This will require businesses to continue putting safety at the heart of their approach as they have since the start of the COVID crisis and the government providing a vital role in supporting employers through guidance and advice.

"In the coming days we need the government to put in place further measures to create this much-needed confidence. Knowing whether workplace testing will continue beyond July, gaining clarity on mask-wearing for public transport and understanding how a role test and release scheme can support both domestic industry and our international travel sector can provide a further boost for firms as we all move from crisis to recovery."

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