As you will have seen, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEVs) living in tier 4 areas in England have been advised to shield.
- The guidance states that CEVs are strongly advised to work from home in tier 4 areas, and if that is not possible then they should not attend work.
- Employers should speak to their CEV employees as soon as possible about the new guidance to make arrangements for them to work from home or, if it is not possible for them to do their normal role from home, consider whether there are any alternative arrangements that can be made to ensure the employee can remain at home and follow the guidance.
- CEV employees following this guidance may be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough), which has been extended until 30 April 2021. Employers should consider whether this is the right option for their CEV employees.
- For those CEVs who cannot work from home and cannot be furloughed, they may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), to support them to remain at home and follow the guidance.
- CEVs who live in tier 4 areas will be sent a letter advising them to shield, which may act as evidence that they are eligible for SSP or ESA. However, due to this guidance being reintroduced quickly over the weekend, and possible delays in the postal service over the Christmas period, some people may not receive their letter until the week after Christmas. Some CEVs may also have received the letter by email.
- Employers should be aware that their CEV employees will be waiting for their letter, but in the meantime, they should follow the guidance set out online in the above link and not go into the workplace. We would encourage employers to support their CEV employees to stay at home while they are waiting for their letter.
- Those eligible for SSP and/or ESA will be eligible for the full period that the shielding guidance is in place, no matter when the CEV individual receives their letter. Eligibility conditions still apply.
- A letter has been sent to CEVs in tier 4 areas. CEVs who live in areas under Tier 4 restrictions after 20th December will receive an updated version of this letter with the date of their area’s move into Tier 4. The substantive content of the letter remains the same. Due to bank holidays, the letters may be slightly delayed in arriving with CEVs.
- Please note that the guidance not to attend the workplace during this period also applies to any CEV employees who live outside of a tier 4 area but work inside a tier 4 area, as well as CEV employees who live inside a tier 4 area and work outside a tier 4 area. Those who live outside tier 4 areas and work inside will not receive a shielding letter in the post, but are still advised to stay at home as much possible, work from home where possible, and not to attend their workplace. A shielding notification letter can be obtained for use as evidence for SSP or ESA.