Statistics show that at least 1 in 4 people in the UK experience ill mental health (such as anxiety, depression, addiction and PTSD) each year. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to our daily lives and it was expected that the need for mental health support would increase during the pandemic.
Recent media reports have highlighted the apparently surprising case of Kane v Debmat Surfacing Ltd. An employee who was off sick, and visited a local pub, was found by an employment tribunal to have been unfairly dismissed by his employer. The employer sacked him for misconduct for attending the pub when he was supposed to be off sick, and for lying to his boss about it. This case has been reported on the basis that an employment tribunal has decided that employees can go to the pub while off sick; the reality, however, is a little more complicated.
We can all accept as read that the pandemic has already led to a number of fundamental changes in relation to the way in which we work, with more to come. One in five small businesses are considering, or have already implemented, a revised working week. As the rollout of the vaccine programme progresses, the next challenge facing businesses is whether to allow employees to return to the office on a full-time basis, continue working from home, or provide employees with the option of a hybrid of both.