Is your workplace ready for vulnerable workers to return in August?
Employers will need to ensure their workplace is COVID-secure from 1 August, the government has said, as it announced that vulnerable employees who have been shielding can return to work from this date.
The latest scientific evidence shows that chances of encountering the virus in the community continue to decline, but the government will continue with its package of support until the end of July to give those shielding time to adjust to the changes.
From Saturday 1 August, the guidance will then be relaxed so clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer be advised to shield, but support will remain available from NHS volunteers and local councils. People will retain their priority for supermarket delivery slots, and still be able to access help with shopping, medication, phone calls and transport to medical appointments.
While this group of clinically extremely vulnerable people should continue to follow strict social distancing measures, they will be able to participate in more activities such as visiting shops and places of worship.
From 1 August, those who need to work and cannot do so from home will be able to return to work – as long as their workplace is COVID-secure, adhering to the guidance available.
The government says:
“We recognise that individuals unable to work from home may feel uncertain about returning to work. Mindful of this, the government is asking employers to ease the transition for their clinically extremely vulnerable employees, ensuring that robust measures are put in place for those currently shielding to return to work when they are able to do so.”
Employees concerned about returning to work once the guidance has eased have been advised to speak with their employer to understand their specific policies in relation to COVID-19. Employers should discuss the employee’s situation, agree a plan for returning to work and adjustments that may be needed before they return.