Staff Shielding New Guidance
Public Health England have issued new guidance for those that are categorised as clinically extremely vulnerable, and they are advising that shielding ends as of 1 April 2021 and aligned to the published roadmap set out by the Government on 22 February 2021.
Below is part of the extracted information from the letter that is now being circulated from the DHSC and any of your employees who have been shielding or advised to shield will have or be receiving the letter either by text, email and/or via the post imminently.
“Although clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer be advised to shield, we still recommend that you take extra precautions to protect yourself while the virus is still spreading in our communities. The updated guidance provides practical steps that cover things like socialising, travel and going to work and school. These are not rules but advice, so you can choose whether you wish to follow them or not.
You can find the full guidance at the end of this letter and at www.gov.uk/coronavirus. In addition to this advice, you must continue to follow the regulations that are in place for everyone during the pandemic. This includes rules on mixing with people from other households.
Summary of advice that applies from 1 April 2021
Until the social distancing rules are eased more widely, it is important that you continue to keep the number of social interactions that you have low and try to reduce the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing. Everyone is advised to continue to work from home where possible, but if you cannot work from home you should now attend your workplace. Your employer is required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace and should 17 March 2021 be able to explain to you the measures they have put in place to keep you safe at work. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) has been extended until 30 September as has the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). You may continue to be eligible throughout this period. From 1 April you will no longer be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) on the basis of being advised to shield”.
This announcement may cause some concerns to your employees who fall within this category and may have been shielding for the past year. The thought of returning to work and just life in general outside of their homes/bubbles can be daunting. It is imperative that you discuss their return to work/workplace and inform them of the COVID H&S risk assessments, policy and measures that you have in place. Remember each individual’s situation is different and try to alleviate their concerns.
The Black Mountain team are as always available to discuss any concerns that you may have as an employer, or any raised by current shielding employees.