How many worked from home in Sunderland?
People in Sunderland are less likely to work from home than almost anywhere else in the country, new figures suggest.
Trade union chiefs say the national trend towards home working – which has been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic – could lead to a new "class divide".
Office for National Statistics (ONS) data estimates that just 20% of the 125,299 employed people aged 16 and over in Sunderland worked from home at some stage in 2020 – up from 16% in 2019, and one of the lower rates in the UK.
Nationally, the figure was 37%.
The Trade Union Congress says this trend could lead to a future “class divide” – as those who have been able to work from home will find it easier to achieve more flexible working.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, said: “It’s likely that many workers will want to spend more time working from home than before, and it’s vital employers have positive and constructive discussions with staff and unions about how to make this work.
“A sole focus on home working rights would create new inequalities for those who cannot easily work from home.”
She added: “The Prime Minister must bring forward new rights to flexible working without delay.”
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the Government will not bring forward an employment bill until the pandemic is over, but it has reconvened the Flexible Working Taskforce to support emerging changes in working.
A spokeswoman added: "The Government is committed to supporting all employees to manage their work-life commitments."