D-BRIEF – Employment & Pensions Blog: New Shielding Guidance

In line with the government’s Covid-19 Response – Spring 2021 roadmap, the Government has announced that more than 3.79 million clinically extremely vulnerable people in England will now be informed that they are no longer advised to shield from 1 April 2021.

Those who are on the shielded patient list will instead be advised to take extra precautions to protect themselves while the virus is still spreading. This is because no vaccine is 100% effective and even if the individual has taken both doses, there is no absolute guarantee that they will not become ill from Covid-19.

The Government’s recommendations and practical steps to those who are on the shielded patient list to reduce the risk of catching the virus, includes continuing to maintain strict social distancing and to keep overall social contacts at low levels, such as working from home where possible. However, where an individual is unable to work from home, the Government has stated that such employees should now attend their workplace. Employers obviously must continue to keep their workplaces Covid-19 secure as required by law.

Whilst individuals can choose not to follow these recommendations, the regulations that are in place for everyone during the pandemic, which includes rules on mixing with people from other households, must still be followed.

Further, whilst the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until 30 September 2021, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable may continue to be eligible. However, from 1 April, those on the shielded patient list 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 is due to fact that shielding will cease from 1 April 2021.

If you would like to discuss how the Government’s new shielding guidance will impact your employees, please contact any member of the team.

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