Head of Retail & Consumer | Head of Risk Advisory
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In spite of the prime minister Boris Johnson recently stating that he would not ask people to shield in the same way again during this lockdown, the government has revised their guidance on shielding the day before lockdown commenced.
The new guidance applies to those identified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) who are at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. To qualify as CEV the employee will need to have one of the conditions set out in the guidance or to have received a letter from their clinician or GP which added them to the Shielded Patient List.
The guidance is now unequivocal (in a way that it was not previously), that CEV employees should work from home where possible. If it is not possible to work from home they should not attend work during the lockdown.
Ideally furlough, provided that they qualify (having been on a payroll RTI submission before 30 October 2020). Otherwise, they may be entitled to sick pay under your company scheme (depending on the terms) and/or they will be entitled to SSP.
This would be against government guidance, could lead to serious illness or death of your CEV employee, could be considered a failure to meet your health and safety obligations to employees and in the most extreme circumstances could invalidate your insurance, so it is not advised.
If a CEV employee is really keen to remain in work, perhaps citing mental health as a competing concern, we would recommend that you obtain advice from their treating clinician or GP and only allow them to remain in the workplace during lockdown if medical advice supports the contention that this is in the best interests of their health.
The guidance is clear that you can still attend work if you live with someone who is CEV and are unable to work from home. The guidance recommends in-home measures to limit risk of transmission.
The government's general guidance on the lockdown describes two groups as more at risk from coronavirus: those aged over 60; and those who are clinically vulnerable (CV) as they are:
This guidance does not suggest that those who are more at risk should not attend work but recommends that they should instead be careful to follow the rules, minimise contact with others, wash their hands carefully and more frequently and maintain thorough cleaning of their workspace.
If you have employees who are more at risk but not CEV therefore you should consider: