By Lisa Rix - 23 June 2020
On 22 June 2020, the government announced that shielded employees are able to return to COVID-secure workplaces from 1 August 2020. However, they will need to continue to follow strict social distancing measures in doing so.
In light of this announcement, the risks of allowing (or requiring) shielded employees to physically return to the workplace from this date will reduce, but employers should be alive to their likely duty to provide reasonable adjustments in respect of such individuals returning to the workplace (if they qualify as disabled for employment law purposes, which many will) as well as their duty to provide a safe system of working.
As suggested by the government, employers would do well to speak to returning employees about their concerns, how those concerns might be overcome, and how they can support them to return to the workplace when they may still feel anxious about doing so. Whilst these same principles apply to staff more generally, those who have been shielding are likely to feel more anxious and more reluctant to return to the workplace, so additional support and reassurance will prove invaluable.
For more information on shielded employees (and other categories of employees) returning to work, please click here.