Philip Richardson, head of employment law at Stephensons Solicitors, commented following the announcement by London law firm Stephenson Harwood, saying it would allow staff to work remotely but pay them 20% less than their current salary.

He said: “Post-pandemic, many firms are trying to navigate a completely different world of work. How and where that work is conducted has changed completely.

Now employers are having to make tricky decisions about how best to keep physical office space thriving whilst also acknowledging the wants and needs of their employees.  

“There will be many different approaches to this issue, but cutting pay is going to raise eyebrows. Many employees feel just as productive, if not more so than if they were commuting into the office every day. If their work and output is of a high quality, some will view the decision as harsh to penalise employees solely on the basis of where that work is done.

“The risk, ultimately, is that employees don’t feel trusted and that may lead some to seek alternative employment. That said, it seems likely that this is just the tip of the iceberg and we will begin to see many more firms try and tackle this issue in the months ahead.”