The Scottish Government should consider what support can be made available for the significantly increased number of people working from home during the COVID19 crisis, according to Scottish Greens Connectivity Spokesperson John Finnie MSP.
More people than ever before are working from home as they follow government advice to stay put to slow the spread of COVID19 and protect the NHS. Mr Finnie has raised concerns that the unexpected shift to homeworking for many could come with increased costs for households and has lodged parliamentary questions asking the Scottish Government what support can be provided.
John Finnie MSP said:
“We live in unprecedented times. The COVID19 crisis has changed all our lives and for many that means working from home. This move to home working will be a first for lots of people and will bring with it concerns.
“First and foremost, it is vital that employers ensure that they have considered the health and safety of their employees. In practice this is likely to mean that employers should issue people with the appropriate equipment to do their jobs. I’ve asked the Scottish Government if it will consider issuing updated guidance to businesses on health and safety for home workers.
“The cost of homeworking can often be overlooked but may be considerable, especially if the current restrictions are in place for a significant period, as seems likely. Many people have data limits on their broadband usage or increased calling rates at particular times of the day meaning they could be accruing additional charges simply for doing their job. Other household costs like electricity and gas are also likely to increase as people have the heating and lights on through the day.
“For many rural and island communities the challenge of working at home is compounded by poor broadband connectivity. This is not a new issue, but one that must be addressed.
“I hope the Scottish Government will acknowledge these concerns and consider what practical support it is able to put in place to back those who are playing their part in the fight against COVID19 by following the advice and staying at home.”