Wales threatens £60 fines for making trips to WORK in draconian rules

WALES is threatening £60 fines for employees making “unnecessary” trips to work under new draconian rules, it has been announced.  

From Monday, workers could receive a fixed penalty notice as companies face a huge £1,000 worth fine each time the rule is broken, rising to a potential £10,000.

Up until Tuesday, the Welsh Government had only issued guidance to encourage home working amid a "two-phase plan" to tackle the Omicorn variant.

Under rules citizens can still legally visit pubs, shops and restaurants with no enforced limits on the amount of people they can mix with.   

But new health restrictions next week will make it an offence for “failing to work from home where reasonably practicable to do so” as First Minister Mark Drakeford tightened down on new covid curbing measures.

A Welsh Government spokesman explained: “Additional measures have been introduced to limit the spread of the virus and protect public health.

“Further to our long-standing advice for people to work from home wherever possible, from Monday this will now be a legal requirement to work from home unless there is a reasonable excuse not to.

“We expect employers to take all reasonable steps to facilitate home working and provide employees with the support they need."

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However, Welsh Conservatives have accused the government of "sneaking new Covid rules in under the radar,” amid fears the new “discrete” ruling could have a devastating effect on the population.

Clwyd West Tory MP David Jones said: “The lack of clarity in this position is very troubling. More guidance should be given as to what is meant by 'reasonably practicable'.

“If clarity is not provided, many workers may be deterred from working at all, for fear of having a fine accompanied by a criminal record.

“This is also true in the case of volunteers, who provide important services, but may be concerned that they would not be regarded by the authorities as 'working'.

“If further comprehensive guidance is not issued quickly, there is the potential of chaos, which should be avoided at all costs.”

Meanwhile TUC General Secretary Shavanah Taj expressed “shock and concern” at the new rules, suggesting that it was “naïve” to think that responsibility is shared.

“A worker is not responsible for their place of work, their employer is,” she said.

“This sets a really worrying precedent that the responsibility is somehow shared, and is at best naive.”

Only yesterday Drakeford implemented further restrictions as he confirmed that all sporting events in Wales would be played behind closed doors from Boxing Day onwards.

A £3million Spectator Sports Fund is being made available to clubs and venues affected by the latest restrictions, which are being reviewed "regularly."

But the ruling, announced in the early hours of Monday, will affect various sports including football, rugby union and horse racing with several ticketed events in disarray.

It came just days after the First Minister announced a mixture of advice for the Christmas period – spelling out more trouble for the hospitality industry.

He confirmed that nightclubs would be closed from December 27 with a promise that a £60million fund would be in place to support any businesses affected by the restrictions.

As of Monday, the rate of infection in Wales was just under 550 cases per 100,000 people as the new variant causes chaos.

And officials have so far urged people to reduce contact with others over the coming days, especially if Christmas plans include seeing older or more vulnerable people.

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