Prospect demands clarity on back to work guidance

4 May 2020


Prospect has written to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock insisting that the advice it publishes for workplaces post-lockdown must be clearer and more precise if the economy is to get back to work.


The letter was prompted when the guidance changed to allow, for example, face-to-face meetings provided they were limited to 15 minutes, or working back-to-back if a two metre separation can’t be kept.

Prospect’s letter said:

The medical advice or evidence for this guidance is not easily identifiable and not available on the PHE website. We cannot find any evidence to suggest or support the proposition that exposures of less than 15 minutes are any safer than exposures of more than 15 minutes or that exposure of less than 15 minutes do not expose individuals to significant risk?

The union is concerned that without clear guidance we will not be able to return the economy to near-normal operation and will be unable to protect our workers or avoid a second peak in infections.

Prospect General Secretary Mike Clancy said:

“If the economy is to recover sustainably and safely then a return to work needs to be managed properly.

“The question is how the advice from Public Health England is grounded in relevant evidence.  The government must provide absolute clarity on how workplaces can operate safely, and it must set out the evidence for its advice.

“We all want to get back to work but there is no point in easing the lockdown if the guidelines put people at risk, potentially causing a spike in cases and another full scale lockdown.

“The government must work with unions and employers so we can manage the risk properly together and get back to work in a way that is safe and sustainable.”