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Legal insights & industry updates

| 1 minute read

Employees in Wales could be fined for going to work

Across Europe countries are re-introducing restrictions as a result of increasing case numbers of the new Omicron variant.

Last week the Scottish Government had introduced updated their regulations to place obligations on business to take measures to minimise the spread of coronavirus which included a duty to have regard for Scottish Government guidance, which included working from home.

The Welsh Government has gone a stage further and has now introduced offence and potentially penalties for employees and employers who aren't working from home. Regulation 18B of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020, as amended, means that employees are required to work from home where reasonably practicable to do so.

Regulation 42A of the same regulations makes it an offence to contravene Regulation 18B, with a potential penalty of summary conviction by a fine of £60.

The move has been opposed by Trade Unions who feel that this will hit lowest paid workers more.

Businesses in Wales have to comply with the new Regulation 16(3)(ba) of allowing or requiring persons who ordinarily work at the premises to work from home. Failure to do so could be committing an offence under Regulation 42 which can result in a fixed penalty notice of up to £1,000.

What does this mean for Scotland?

These regulations apply to Wales only, and whilst the four UK nations have tried to adopt a joined up approach during the pandemic, there has often been divergence in the public health policy between the four nations. 

Employers and employees in Scotland will need to pay close attention to any further announcements from the Scottish Government, in the event similar obligations are introduced in Scotland. 

Fines will be handed out to employees in Wales who go to work when they could work from home. From Monday, workers will receive a £60 fixed penalty notice and companies hit with fines of £1,000 every time they break the rule.


employment law, coronavirus advice