Firms begin steps to slash pay for home workers as minister says office return 'crucial'

27 June 2022, 08:19 | Updated: 27 June 2022, 08:40

By Asher McShane

Environment Secretary George Eustice has said it’s “crucial” that some workers turn up at offices, as firms begin steps to slash pay for home workers.

Mr Eustice spoke to Nick Ferrari on LBC at Breakfast today, following reports as many as one in ten firms want to slash pay or benefits for people who don’t return to their desks.

The plans are expected to spark a widespread backlash.

A survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found ten per cent of companies are looking at ways they can reduce pay for home workers.

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Four per cent of businesses have already reduced pay or benefits for people who continue to work from home.

A further 13 per cent are on the cusp of doing so.

Mr Eustice said the ‘vast majority’ of staff in his department were back in the office three days per week and working from home the other two days.

“There are some advantages to what we discovered. I can patch people in to discussions and meetings from offices in York on in Bristol far easier than we could.

“I also think it’s crucial that people are in the office for part of the time otherwise we lose that camaraderie, the bonding that you get from a team of people working on something.

“It’s crucial that people are in the office, but it may be that there are some days when they don’t need to be. We are still finding our way on this slightly different way of hybrid working.”

Ben Willmott, head of public policy for the CIPD, said employers that are planning to reduce pay or benefits should "recognise there are potential ethical and legal risks in this approach.

"It could also make it harder to recruit or retain staff if people working remotely are valued and rewarded less than those who have to attend their organisation’s workplace.”