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25 March 2020, 10:34 | Updated: 25 March 2020, 11:39
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned employers could face a penalty if they ask staff to come in unnecessarily.
Employers could face fines if they demand their staff come to work during lockdown when they could be at home, the Health Secretary has warned.
Speaking in The House Of Commons yesterday, Matt Hancock said that employers will face new guidance in the wake of the new coronavirus measures, including that staff must stand two metres apart.
When asked by Shadow Health Minister Jonathan Ashworth whether employers should face fines, the Health Secretary replied: “Absolutely, those fines are available if that is absolutely necessary.”
Speaking about the new rules set out by the Prime Minister on Monday, he added: "The actions are not actions any UK government would want to take.
"The goal is clear, to slow the rate of transmission, to protect the NHS and save lives. Our instructions are simple. Stay at home.
"Employers should be taking every possible step to make sure that remote working can happen.
"I want to be clear that where people absolutely cannot work from home, they can still go to work. Indeed it’s important that they do to keep the country running.
"Key workers, for example in the NHS, social care, pharmacists, medicine supply chain, should go to work unless they are self-isolating due to symptoms.
"We’ll be publishing guidance later today to explain steps that employers must take to ensure that employees are safe, including making sure there is a two metre gap between workers wherever possible."