What if an employee cannot work from home but is genuinely afraid of travelling / going into work – what options do I have?
There is less guidance in respect of whether an employee can refuse to go into the workplace as a result of health and safety concerns about their commute. An employer’s duties to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees only extend to the workplace or where an employee is acting in the course of their employment. This does not include the risks of travelling to and from work by public transport.
As there are various ways in which an employee can travel to work, it will be difficult for them to legitimately refuse to come to work due to their commute. Employers should discuss any concerns with the employee and seek to find an appropriate resolution. The government has published guidance on safer travel for passengers during the Covid-19 pandemic and employers should encourage flexibility as far as possible, such as allowing employees to travel at off-peak times and staggering workers’ hours.