Maintaining communication with the absent worker is important and will help you in assessing whether the worker is fit / unfit to return
to work. Employers should apply existing policies and procedures to encourage workers back to work, after a longer absence due to COVID-19, in the same way that return to work following any long illness is managed.
As announced in April, employees now have the right to request to work from home under the National Remote Working Strategy. Ibec and Isme both said that the proposals due to come into force this year to allow people to work from home would place extra burdens on businesses as they emerge from the pandemic. Ibec have noted that if homes were designated as workplaces, employers would be required to inspect them to make sure they met legal standards and did not breach data protection or commercial confidentiality rules.
The full impact of such legislation remains to be seen but employers will have to keep a close eye on any new legislation to ensure they are compliant.