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CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese has joined the ranks of those accusing the government of sending out mixed messages over working from home.
Cheese, who is also co-chair of the government’s Flexible Working Taskforce, said: “There seem to be slightly mixed messages because across the civil service there has actually been a lot of talk about embedding flexible working – the different departments being given the latitude to explore working from home”.
An unnamed minister sparked the debate this week after telling the Mail on Sunday that employees who were working from home should receive a pay cut because they “aren’t paying commuter costs so have had a de facto pay rise”.
Shortly after, business secretary Kwasi Karteng denied this would be part of the civil service’s approach, stressing that flexible working is in accordance with government policy and would continue after the pandemic.
The Department of Health and Social Care, meanwhile, said it was reviewing its plans to require employees to return to its offices for up to eight days a month from September.
Cheese told The Times that ministers should be wary of promoting “ways of working where we almost judge people by their commitment… because we see them in our offices”. He added: “We’ve got to be able to judge people much more on what they produce.”
“There are a lot of legal questions about [stripping people of pay]”, Cheese continued. “Secondly, there are real questions about fairness. There