Around 64,000 tax authority employees will be able to work permanently from home for at least two days a week starting next month – despite the government’s goal of getting workers back to their offices.
HM Revenue and Customs confirmed that its new flexible work policy will go into effect June 1, allowing its employees to work remotely for part of the week after the pandemic restrictions are lifted.
It is part of a broader overhaul at HMRC to address what Chief Jim Harra referred to as a “crisis” in wages and working conditions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this month insisted that the government cease work from home on June 21, telling MPs that British cities depend on “people who have the confidence to go to work”.
However, HMRC said it wanted to “recognize the benefits of smarter ways of working” in its new wage and labor reforms.
In response to a request from the PA News Agency about Freedom of Information (FOI), HMRC said: “If the role is appropriate, employees have the option (although not contractually authorized) to work from home two days a week, or more, where the deal agrees. “
It added that it was “committed to helping as many employees as possible work from home where it works for their personal circumstances and the role they play”.
The HMRC also grazes the pay and standardizes contracts while reducing its network from around 170 offices to 13 regional centers, five specialty locations and a head office in London.
The reforms were given the green light by the unions earlier this year, but HMRC said the final details of the flexible labor policy are still being worked out.
The Bank of England recently confirmed that it is trying to allow its 4,475 employees to work from home in response to the pandemic.
The bank said it is reviewing its flexible labor policy “as we move into a hybrid way of working after the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted” and should test the changes in its workforce.
It added, “As with many other organizations, we are considering the right balance between time spent working in the office and working remotely in order to maximize the bank’s ability to accomplish its mission.”
A number of companies in the private sector support hybrid work models as the country emerges from the coronavirus crisis.
Corporate giants like UK gas owner Centrica, outsourcer Capita and lenders Santander and NatWest Group have all confirmed they will switch their workforce to a combination of office and remote working.