Q&As

Are employers legally required to draft a letter explaining that an employee is a key/critical worker (which the employee could then use to justify leaving their homes during a lockdown), or is it just good practice for an employer to do so?

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Published on LexisPSL on 21/01/2021

The following Employment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Are employers legally required to draft a letter explaining that an employee is a key/critical worker (which the employee could then use to justify leaving their homes during a lockdown), or is it just good practice for an employer to do so?

Are employers legally required to draft a letter explaining that an employee is a key/critical worker (which the employee could then use to justify leaving their homes during a lockdown), or is it just good practice for an employer to do so?

In accordance with the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020, SI 2020/1374 (as amended), current Cabinet Office guidance: National lockdown: Stay at Home, makes it clear that an individual is not permitted to leave or be outside of their home except where they have a ‘reasonable excuse’. Anyone contravening the law can be fined up to a maximum of £6,400.

For further information about the legislative underpinning of the most recent national lockdown provisions on 6 January 2021, see:

  1. the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No 3) and (All Tiers) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, SI 2021/8

  2. the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No 3) and (All Tiers) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021—LNB News 06/01/2021 10

  3. Coronavirus (COVID-19)—England and Scotland enter national lockdown—LNB News 05/01/2021 35

Government guidance provides examples of what a ‘reasonable excuse’ includes in this context. A person can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for them to do their job from home. This includes, but is not limited to, people who work in:

  1. critical national infrastructure

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