Paul Holcroft, associate director at Croner, said communication was crucial for employers to ensure any staff who had been shielding felt safe returning to work. We recognise this continues to be a testing time for business in Scotland. The strategy called "shielding" means to stay at home at all times and the aim is to protect lives. In Scotland, if you are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus, you are “strongly advised” to shield yourself to reduce your chance of getting the virus. You do not need to get a return to work note from your GP or care provider. Those who are shielding also get a phone number to ring if they need support accessing food or medicine. Carers are able to continue to visit but must follow guidelines, and those without a care network close by can make use of a national support system, including pharmacists, supermarkets and local authorities. We are grateful to the many companies that continue to act responsibly in our shared ambition to create safer workplaces for all. From 18 June, if the infection rate is low enough, people shielding will be able to go outside for exercise. Elsewhere, subject to advice from the Chief Medical Officer, high-risk employees in Wales can potentially return to the workplace from 16 August, while Scotland has extended its advice to shield until at least 31 July, with no indication yet as to what will happen after this date. Those categorised as vulnerable because of an underlying health condition should have received written communication from their GP practice or specialist on how best to protect themselves in March. Workplace guidance is underpinned by: People can travel across COVID Protection levels for the purpose of work, though  working from home is default position across all Protection levels for those who can. Nicola Sturgeon update: changes to Scotland’s Covid tiers explained after First Minister’s announcement - and latest on Christmas, Coronavirus in Scotland: ‘Covid doesn’t like wrapping paper’ but you should watch your roast potatoes, says Jason Leitch, While Scotland currently sets its own guidance and has so far not changed its stance on shielding, over in England, people who are shielding can now leave their home if they wish, “as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing.”. Changes to shielding advice in Scotland. out more about cookies, Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to know. Those affected were advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks from the day they received their letter. If you're shielding, you should not return to work. But what does it mean for shielding employees? If you work for yourself, you need to follow government guidance on working safely while maintaining a COVID-secure environment. Advice for people who are shielding is to change in the coming month. This is built around three pillars: The objective of Scotland's Strategic Framework is to set out a sustainable response to the pandemic to be implemented until either a vaccine or highly effective treatments to the virus are developed. This means that shielding employees should not be returning to work. Employees and workers who are no longer shielding may be able to return to the workplace if it's safe. On 31stMay, the shielding guidelines in England were eased slightly. Anyone who's been shielding should talk to their employer as soon as possible about plans to help them return. head to the Scottish government's website. You can use this note to claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). They confirmed if I was shielding and said no problem stay safe. Those affected will receive a letter from the Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith outlining new guidelines and the work to be done to move to pausing shielding from 1 August, as long the evidence is clear that it is safe to do so. out more about cookies, successful measures to suppress the virus, guidance that promotes Fair and Safe workplaces and sectors, the right structures for workplace regulation, supporting working from home and flexible working where possible. Going to work. As outlined in our route map we have and continue to take an evidence-led transparent and phased approach to Scotland’s economic restart and recovery. Work colleagues and managers to understand what it may have been like for people who have shielded and how to compassionately welcome them back into the workplace. The Scottish Government has produced a specific ‘Covid-age’ risk assessment tool and this should be used as the basis for assessment of returning staff after shielding. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said level four lockdown does not mean a return to strict protective shielding for vulnerable people. For more information on shielding in Scotland, head to the Scottish government's website. Added link to call centre and customer contact centre environments guidance. Any data collected is anonymised. Shielding is being paused in England, … If you work in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland please refer to your own country’s advice pages. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. There’s also specific advice for … Will they have to go back to work now? In Scotland, the advice around shielding has not changed, This means that shielding employees should not be returning to work. Matters to consider may involve adjusted duties or redeployment, provided staff agree. In England – where lockdown measures have been eased at a much faster rate than in Scotland – changes come into force today (1 June). Ideally, this should be the same person each time. Scotland says people on the shielding list can follow the same advice as everyone else in their local area, guided by a tier system. In Scotland, the advice around shielding has not changed. If you cannot work from home, you can go to your workplace if it's safe for you to do so. Said I had spoken to my GP. In Scotland and England, therefore, these workers can attend work, subject to the workplace being made safe for them – discussed below. For each level, there’s extra advice if you’re considered clinically extremely vulnerable. Added link to the occupational risk assessment guidance and assessment tool. In Wales, the advice is slightly different, suggesting people who are shielding can take unlimited exercise and meet people fro… If you don’t get a shielding letter after 2 December 2020, the government say you can go to work if you can’t work from home and your workplace is safe enough. COVID protection levels are subject to regular review. The Framework covers the four key harms of the virus, how we will work to suppress the virus, and sets out our proposal to move to a strategic approach to outbreak management based on five levels of protection. See travel restrictions for further information about travelling around Scotland. If infection rates in Scotland are low enough, a change to the guidance could be announced on 18 June. When at work, you should follow physical distancing advice. Shielding is a means of protecting society's "extremely vulnerable" from contracting Covid-19. So in theory, if you have been shielding up until this point, you could opt to return to work, but this will be a deeply personal decision you may want to discuss with family or others that are close to you. Gov.scot uses cookies which are essential for the site to work. People who have been advised to shield can start taking steps to spend time safely outdoors. This means that an employee cannot automatically refuse a reasonable instruction to return to work without a good reason. You should continue to work from home if you can. If you can't work from home (I can't) then you should be on fully paid leave. Guidance for workers and employers on returning to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. As for the general population, remote working should remain the default position for those who can do so. For people shielding in Scotland, the guidance has not yet changed. These have local rules for everyone. This is a duty the law places firmly on employers, so this should be proactively managed. If you're unable to work because you work in an area where shielding advice is in place, you may be able to get a shielding note to give to your employer. The government has set out a series of steps for relaxing shielding guidance which comes into place from 6 th July and 1 st August. Although the official end to shielding in the UK suggests that employers have the green light to get employees back to work, this does not change an employer's duty to make reasonable adjustments. Update to Businesses and premises that must remain closed section. Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE as 14 people die and 499 confirmed cases What is 'shielding'? On Monday, July 6, those shielding can gather with up to six people outdoors, and form a support bubble with another household. From August 1 in England, they will no longer be required to stay at home and may be asked to return to work. The thought of returning to work after shielding is likely to affect each of us in different ways. Shielding will continue until at least July 31 in Scotland and August 16 in Wales. Scotland has 5 levels of restrictions, called ‘COVID protection levels’. Level 0 is the most relaxed, level 4 the strictest. I’m shielding my child – am I entitled to paid time off work? A teacher who was previously shielding has been told to stay on the front line during the latest restrictions, despite pupils in the same position being allowed to work at home. The Framework covers the four key harms of the virus, how we will work to suppress the virus, and sets out our proposal to move to a strategic approach to outbreak management based on five … The objective of Scotland's Strategic Framework is to set out a sustainable response to the pandemic to be implemented until either a vaccine or highly effective treatments to the virus are developed. Accessing COVID-secure precautions Employers should ensure all workers, including those in higher-risk groups, are able to access all the protections that are necessary, eg during night shifts, when working remotely or working alone. The Scottish Government are asking people to keep shielding until at least the end of July, and will continue to support those who are shielding until at least the end of that month. As COVID-19 becomes more in control and lockdown restrictions are eased, those of us who have shielded will be invited to transition back into work when it is safe to do so. Up to 2 million extremely vulnerable people shielding in England must not be forced to return to their workplaces, trade unions have declared, … People who have been shielding as they slowly start to return to work to feel less anxious and more supported. Phased return to work. This guidance will be kept under regular review.”, More information on English shielding measures can be found here, This website and its associated newspaper are members of Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). In Levels 3 and 4 restrictions and closures apply. “If you live alone, you can spend time outdoors with one person from another household. Please look after yourself and stay home. Updated to incorporate information from business physical distancing guide. You can access it here. Where clinically extremely vulnerable staff are required to shield and are unable to work from home, employers should follow the latest Staff Council guidance on pay (Joint guidance on shielding due to COVID-19 - 23 November 2020) and visit the frequently asked questions around pay for staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Added links to sport and leisure facilities and general safer workplace guidance. Since shielding is more for your own good than that of the others around you, the advice on it has always been “advisory”. Further information on workplaces that must close and workplaces that can remain open with working from home the default position can be found at COVID-19 Level 4; this includes information on those workplaces supporting Critical National Infrastructure. Find “Shielding is for your personal protection,” say the Scottish Government; “It’s your choice to decide whether to follow these measures.”. Get a shielding note if you cannot work. Your feedback will help us improve this site, Coronavirus (COVID-19): creating and maintaining safer workplaces, Find Shielding will soon be coming to an end across the UK, after which those who have been shielding will be able to return to work provided their place of work is ‘COVID-19 safe.’ Doctors who have been shielding are feeling concerned about returning to work,1particularly given that working in healthcare carries an increased infection risk. When a return to work is possible employers must carry out individual risk assessments Employers will need to undertake individual risk assessments to support previously shielding staff to return. They don't even want a copy of my letter. Guidelines for staying safe during COVID-19 are changing all the time. Returning to the workplace after shielding. We also use non-essential cookies to help us improve our websites. 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