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TUC warns Covid-related working from home trend could lead to new ‘class divide’

AN INCREASE in home working during the Covid-19 pandemic could lead to a new class divide, the TUC has warned.

The trade union body said that the development, while beneficial for some, could exacerbate differences between those who can choose to work from home and those who cannot.

On today’s 16th annual Work from Home Day, the TUC is calling for flexible working arrangements to be on offer to everyone to help improve work-life balance.

Aside from home working, more flexible options include fixed-hour, flexitime or part-time contracts and job shares. These options suit many workers and should be on offer, the TUC says.

The latest Labour Force Survey data shows that permanent home working has nearly doubled from 6.7 per cent of all workers in 2019 to more than 12 per cent during the pandemic.

But with the government due to lift its work-from-home guidance on June 21, the TUC is urging all employers to think about the needs of their staff, including key workers and those who must attend a workplace.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s likely that many workers will want to spend more time working from home than before, and it’s vital that employers have positive and constructive discussions with staff and unions about how to make this work.

“A sole focus on home-working rights would create new inequalities for those who cannot easily work from home.

“The Prime Minister’s failure to include an employment Bill in his legislative programme is a colossal failure to address the needs of working people.

“He must bring forward new rights to flexible working without delay.”

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