On the 18th March 2021, the government issued new guidance in relation to those shielding i.e. those considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV).
The guidance is fairly lengthy but the headlines are that those shielding:
- No longer need to as of the 1st April – regardless of having had both vaccinations
- If they can however work from home, they should (as with the current guidance for everyone at the moment)
- Although no longer required to shield, covid preventative measures must be i.e. social distancing, limit social interactions
- SSP should no longer be paid for anyone shielding ANY ABSENCE WILL BE UNPAID LEAVE although they may still be eligible for SSP, subject to meeting the eligibility conditions, if they’re sick or otherwise incapable of work, either due to coronavirus or other health reasons
- Furlough can be offered in certain circumstances for those previously shielding but only upon mutual agreement with the employee and the employer – this is a little ambiguous but it appears that if both are happy to furlough then this is OK
- If they have not had their first dose of the vaccine they must contact their GP to arrange
- They can still un-shield if they have only had one dose of the vaccine – they do not need to wait until they have had their second
- They should receive a letter directly from the government advising all of the above
The guidance doesn’t make reference to those that are pregnant and shielding however, current guidance for those that are pregnant are:
- They are not automatically classed as CEV because they are pregnant
- They are classed as CEV if they are pregnant AND have an underlying health issue or their GP advises that they are CEV
The guidance reiterates not to force people back to work so it’s about having conversations to reassure staff about a return and making adjustments that are identified through your risk assessments.
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