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New Guidance for Shielding Employees

Employment / 18 March 2021

Public Health England has issued new guidance to people classed as extremely clinically vulnerable (“ECV”) which employers will need to be aware of. 

The guidance is being sent out by letter to those who are ECV (i.e. those who are shielding).  The key points are:

1.  From 1 April 2021, those who are ECV will no longer be advised to shield and will no longer be eligible for SSP (or other allowances) on the basis of being advised to shield alone;

2.  Individuals who are ECV are advised to continue to work from home where possible but, significantly, the letter states  “if you cannot work from home you should now attend your workplace. Your employer is required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace and should be able to explain to you the measures they have put in place to keep you safe at work”; and

3.  Individuals who are ECV must continue to follow the regulations that are in place for everyone during the pandemic, including rules on mixing with people from other households.

The key change for employers is therefore that if an employee who is classed as ECV cannot work from home, they should now attend a COVID-19 secure workplace, rather than remaining off work in receipt of SSP.  If this isn’t possible, employees who are ECV may still be eligible for furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which is now running until 30 September 2021.

If you need advice on the Employment or Regulatory issues arising from this change, our experts can help.


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This update is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should seek legal advice before relying on its content. This update relates to the prevailing circumstances at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments. If you have general queries about our updates, please email:

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