Clinically extremely vulnerable can go to work: new advice from 2 December

2 mins

Posted on 01 Dec 2020

The Government has updated its advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people in England from 2 December.  This is when England comes out of lockdown and returns to a tiered system of restrictions.  

The Government advises that like everyone else, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should work from home if possible. However, if they cannot work from home, the advice has now changed and they are now advised that they can go to work. This advice applies across all tiers. 

The only difference between the tiers is that in Tier 3 (very high), a clinically extremely vulnerable person who cannot work from home and who is concerned about going to work is advised to talk to their employer about temporarily taking an alternative role or changing their work pattern, for example to avoid rush hour travel. However, if there is no alternative they can still go to work. 

The guidance also suggests that employers may be able to furlough clinically extremely vulnerable staff in all tiers if they cannot work from home and alternative arrangements cannot be made. However, it then refers to the furlough guidance which, in turn, suggests employers can only furlough employees who are unable to work because they are following public health guidance (which from 2 December indicates they can in fact go to work).  It seems unlikely that the Government intends to preclude employers from furloughing clinically extremely vulnerable employees who cannot work from home and who do not wish to go to work because they are concerned about their health. However, employers will need to consider each employee’s situation on a case by case basis in light of current guidance.    

2 December guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19

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