July 10, 2020 / 10:06 PM / a month ago

UK PM to tell firms to order staff back to workplaces, Daily Mail reports

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street, in London, Britain, July 8, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tell employers next week to start ordering staff back into their places of work, as long as it is safe to do so, in order to stem the coronavirus hit to the economy, the Daily Mail said.

Johnson has told top civil servants to set an example by starting to return staff to their desks and he has also asked companies including Goldman Sachs to get more employees back after working from home, the newspaper said.

The prime minister would announce the change in an update on coronavirus next week, it said.

On Friday, Johnson said he thought it was time for people to start shifting away from working from home.

“I want people to go back to work as carefully as possible,” he said in a question-and-answer session with members of the public.

“It’s very important that people should be going back to work if they can, now. I think everybody’s taken the ‘stay at home if you can’ (advice). I think now we should say ‘go back to work if you can.’”

Britain’s economy shrank by 25% over March and April as the coronavirus pandemic escalated and the government ordered entire sectors to shut down.

On Wednesday, finance minister Rishi Sunak said the government would pay bonuses to employers who bring temporarily laid-off staff back to work among other measures aimed at slowing an expected surge in unemployment.

Reporting by Sabahatjahan Contractor in Bengaluru and William Schomberg in London; editing by Stephen Addison

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