Shielding to be Paused

Shielding is to be paused in England and Wales with effect from 1 April 2021.

The clinically extremely vulnerable were last advised to shield in England from 5 January 2021, following the imposition of the current national lockdown. The Department of Health and Social Care has now published a notification letter for that group to the effect that from 1 April, they will no longer be advised to shield and will not be eligible for statutory sick pay on the basis of being advised to shield. It states: “Everyone is currently advised to work from home where possible. If you cannot work from home, you should go to work.” The letter also notes that employers are required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to Covid-19 in the workplace.

At the time of writing, the shielding guidance in England states that it was updated on 18 March 2021 but does not yet reflect the latest position.

The Welsh Government has also confirmed that shielding measures for the clinically extremely vulnerable will be paused in Wales from the same date. That group was last advised to shield from 22 December 2020.

The shielding guidance in Wales was also last updated on 18 March, and refers to this anticipated change. It confirms that, from 1 April: the clinically extremely vulnerable are to go to work if they cannot work from home, as long as the business is Covid-secure; that the guidance will be updated further on 31 March; and that a new letter will be sent to the clinically extremely vulnerable in Wales in the coming weeks.

For advice on any employment-related issues arising in connection with Covid-19, please contact me on 01952 211010 or email john.merry@lblaw.co.uk.