The government’s latest announcement can be found here:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): What has changed – 22 September

Whilst political statements and spin have oscillated (if not vacillated) around working from home versus in a workplace, and just as there’s been much divergence between guidance to the public and the actual law (as noted amongst others by former Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption), the underlying official written government guidance has fundamentally remained the same during lockdown, albeit with some change of emphasis. The guidance now reads “office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter. Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so.  Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary. Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work. The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.” It also remains the case that workplaces must be Covid-secure, with, amongst other things, risk assessments:

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

It similarly remains the case that there are a myriad of pre-existing, separate legal rights and issues, including health and safety and that individual circumstances must be considered.  This can create huge risk for the uninformed employer. See 'Are we nearly there yet? Some learning points and musings on managing the fallout from Covid-19 and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' under the section: We need some employees to work.  However, they’re fearful of being on public transport and attending the workplace. Can we require them? 

A very useful, comprehensive article can be found here: 

Coronavirus – FAQs on staffing decisions when reopening workplaces

Note that there are some differences in the legal systems and guidance applicable in the different countries of the UK.

This article is dated 30th September 2020

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