As part of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown (and in part due to the success of the vaccination programme so far) as of 1st April 2021 anyone who is classified as clinically vulnerable will receive a letter confirming they are no longer being advised to shield.
All those that have previously received a shielding letter will now be contacted again to advise that they no longer need to shield. Public Health England has issued new guidance to those categorised as extremely clinically vulnerable which includes advice on social distancing, hygiene, work and travel. The advice will be to continue taking precautions generally but, crucially, will state;
“Everyone is currently advised to work from home where possible. If you cannot work from home, you should now go to work.”
Importantly, as of 1st April 2021, both Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will no longer be available on the grounds of anyone shielding.
The extended Furlough scheme will be available where employees are eligible but this is purely at the discretion of the Employer.
For employees who are still worried and concerned about going in to work, this will no doubt increase anxiety. Employers have a duty of care towards their employees and need to ensure their health and safety where possible. No doubt this will be a contentious matter and is likely to lead to an increase in claims being made unless handled properly.
For advice on how to deal with the transition back to work for those that have been off for a while, contact our Head of Employment, Ilinca Mardarescu.