Key points to consider
How to treat different groups of people
Clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV): advised to shield (highly likely to be disabled under Equality Act 2010 (EA))
These are people who have specific underlying health conditions that make them extremely vulnerable to severe illness if they contract COVID-19
They are *strongly advised* to stay at home. Can you reallocate tasks/ provide equipment to them to perform at home? If not, consider furlough or SSP.
Clinically vulnerable (CV): not advised to shield (likely to be disabled under the EA, bar those who are simply pregnant/over 70)
These are people who may have an increased risk from COVID-19, including those aged 70 or over, pregnant and those with some underlying health conditions
They are *advised* to stay at home. Can you reallocate tasks/ provide equipment to perform at home? If not, offer safest available workplace role observing social distancing. If not possible, consider furlough, unpaid leave, holiday or maternity suspension on full pay.
Other disabled people (who are not CEV or CV) or those who are especially vulnerable
You may have people who are not CEV or CV but do have a medical condition that makes them disabled under the EA or otherwise vulnerable (e.g. someone with a history of chest problems)
If they are disabled, you must consider reasonable adjustments which will include similar considerations to those who are CEV or CV. You are advised to refer to OH or to their GP for more info.
Those living with CEV or CV people
You may have a member of staff who is otherwise fit and well but wants to shield as they live with a CEV or CV person
These people do not have to stay at home if you can comply with social distancing measures at work. If not, consider reallocating tasks to perform at home, or consider furlough, unpaid leave or holiday.
Those who have had coronavirus
Consider whether those who have been hospitalised or in ICU with coronavirus may be disabled under the EA, given there are indications that it has long term effects (even, for example, subsequent depression, anxiety and PTSD)
If they are disabled then you will need to consider reasonable adjustments e.g. allowing them to work from home, a phased return or discounting COVID-related absence.
Those with childcare responsibilities
Until the schools go back and nurseries re-open, you may have people who say they can’t work as they need to look after their children
They can be placed on furlough or can take parental leave (unpaid). Dependent’s leave may not be available if their child is not sick and the disruption to childcare was expected. Holiday is an option.
Example adjustments that employers should consider to ensure a safe system of work
Whilst there are still areas of uncertainty, we hope that this note is helpful. Do contact the Knights Employment Team if we can assist with any specific queries. We have created a special Coronavirus Hub which contains guidance on others areas as well as Employment. Do take a look.
The law is constantly changing and the position set out in this note may not be current. You should not rely on this note as a comprehensive statement of the law. Please contact us if you require specific legal advice on your situation.
© Knights plc 14 May 2020