The House of Lords calls for urgent government action to support the post-pandemic workplace, in particular to ensure that digital progress continues but without marginalising people and also to ensure that jobs lost to digitisation are replaced. The inquiry heard time and again that the most disadvantaged and marginalised people in society were being further marginalised and disadvantaged because they did not have the money to pay for an internet connection and a computer, did not have the appropriate space at home, or did not have the skills and confidence to fully participate in the online world.
Job losses arising from digitisation could have a larger impact on particular communities – of the 1.5 million people in England in jobs most vulnerable to automation, 70% are women and 99% do not have higher education degrees. The report suggests that the Government should explore how personal learning accounts could future-proof roles most at risk by providing workers with an annual training allowance. In particular, it was recommended that this should first be given to furloughed workers who have not been in work for over a year.
It is clear that the workplace has changed enormously during the last year with the growth of platform working, digital monitoring and ‘epresenteeism’ posing risks for wellbeing in work. However, employment practice, policy and legislation have failed to catch up with the hybrid reality of today’s workplace. The report recommends new employment policies and regulation to deal with the current, and future, changes to our working conditions, and the relationship between employee and employer. Issues identified include a right to disconnect, responsibilities for meeting the costs of remote working, rights for platform workers, the use of workplace monitoring and surveillance, and giving workers a right to access data about their performance.
You can read the full report here.