New business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has urged employers to take “every possible step” to help employees work from home during the pandemic.

His comments come after City A.M. revealed some firms have at points offered staff unpaid leave as an alternative to returning to the office.

Kwarteng said: “The law is clear that you may only leave your home for work if you cannot reasonably work from home. The overwhelming majority of businesses are doing the right thing, but we need all employers to act responsibly and take every possible step to help their employees work from home.

“Each and every one of us has a role to play in protecting our NHS and saving lives.”

Yesterday City A.M. revealed the CEO of AIM-listed infrastructure facility provider Infrastrata had sent an email to colleagues that threatened them with unpaid leave if they chose not to come to the office during the November lockdown.  

Meanwhile, some Ted Baker staff the business described as “critical” were offered unpaid leave, among other options, if they did not feel comfortable returning to the office just yet.

According to government guidance only those who “cannot reasonably work from home” should go into work.

Kwarteng became business secretary last week after Alok Sharma, who previously held the role, was made full-time head of COP26, the UN climate change summit the UK is hosting this year.