Shielding Employees returning on 1 August
With the announcement of the return to work for those that are currently shielding it will be of paramount importance to ensure that Health & Safety measures are in place in your workplace well before the 1 August.
The announcement also included news that shielders would be able to leave their homes to socialise in groups of up to 6 people from July.
From the end of July shielders will no longer:
- Receive food and support packages
- Employers will no longer be able to claim SSP
There are currently more than 2 Million people in shielding, so the likelihood is at least one Employee of yours is potentially in this category, they have been isolated and staying at home to limit the risks. It is now down to us to ensure we prioritise their return by taking the appropriate measures and make the workplace a ‘Covid-secure Environment’.
How can you do this?
You can ensure you follow the guidelines set out by the Government, they will include details for individuals currently in shielding. Ensure you implement the measures that are needed to protect your Employees, although there is current guidance available, updated guidance in relation to Employees that are currently in shielding will be available very soon on GOV.UK.
It is important that Social Distancing measures are met and that any physical adjustments are met for your Employees; considerations will need to be factored in and any reasonable adjustments made where relevant.
Eliminating risks will be a key element and by now Managers and business owners should be implementing the risk assessments as part of their routine.
Communication will play an important part in the return to work process and we would suggest you speak to your shielding Employees as soon as possible, this will help them to understand what is happening, you can ask them how they are feeling, answer any questions and plan for their return.
You may want to consider a phased return and we would recommend this, also consider the Working from Home option too, the message is still the same ‘work from home where possible’.
We should never underestimate how our people are feeling, whilst they may have been out of sight they will be frightened, your reassurance will be the best possible communication of all.
What happens when your Shielding Employees do return?
It will be important for your Employees returning from shielding to have a return to work completed, this will ensure you have discussed any concerns they have about the workplace and their Health and Safety.
This should be reviewed on a weekly basis to allow them to settle into the workplace, you perhaps will not return your Shielders full time initially and we would recommend this, well over 4 months away from work is a long time so a phased approach is wise.
What can you do if your Shielding Employee refuses to return?
Where you have implemented all of the above measures, your workplace is a Covid-Secure Environment, you have completed your risk assessments and made any reasonable adjustments where necessary to facilitate a safe return, you could if you chose to:
- Offer unpaid leave
- Offer annual (you would need to provide notice of this)
*Where you cannot implement a Covid-Secure Environment you may furlough your Employee whilst you implement the measures further.
Since March we have now successfully assisted over 80 businesses during COVID-19, we are proud to support you to, if you need us, we are here.
01254 467156 [email protected]
Dated 23 June 2020