Civil servants working from home 'should be paid less', says cabinet minister
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A cabinet minister has suggested that officials should have their pay docked if they refuse to return to the office after working from home during the pandemic.
One union chief has said the comments go to show that the government is “out of touch” with modern working practices.
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At a glance: 5 key points
- An unnamed cabinet minister told the Daily Mail that civil servants who refuse to come into the office should face a pay cut
- The comments have been called “insulting” by Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA civil service union, who said ministers should focus on whether public services are being delivered, rather than where civil servants are sitting
- The government stressed it would follow a “cautious” approach to civil servants returning to their offices, with departments able to be flexible in how the process is managed
- A government spokesman said the approach would take advantage of the benefits of both office and home-based working across the UK
- Last week, the government announced that due to hybrid working, an additional eight government departments could now move into the new civil service hub in Leeds
What’s been said
“People who have been working from home 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.
“If people aren’t going into work, they don’t deserve the terms and conditions they get if they are going into work.”
The minister said
It comes as plans to require staff at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to be based partly in the office in September have been scrapped, meaning civil servants there can continue to work from home full-time.
The Guardian reported that the DHSC had put its staff on notice that from September, the “minimum expectation” was they would need to be in the office for a minimum of four and a maximum of eight days every month – unless there was a business or wellbeing reason.