Coronavirus: What are vulnerable and extremely vulnerable people, and what can I do to support them?

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The government has issued guidance on vulnerable and extremely vulnerable people.

Vulnerable people are defined by the government as aged 70 or over, with a specified underlying health condition or pregnant. They are advised to be particularly stringent when following social distancing measures.

Extremely vulnerable people are at a very high risk of developing a severe illness from coronavirus because of an underlying health condition. The government will be writing to these people by Sunday 29th March. They are advised to stay at home and avoid all contact for at least 12 weeks. If an employee thinks they are in this category but have not had a letter, they should contact their GP, or hospital clinician or consult the government website.

Following the latest government guidance on Monday 23rd March you should be allowing all your workforce to work from home if possible. It is particularly important that you support those people in the vulnerable and extremely vulnerable group with working from home if this is feasible for their role. If they cannot work from home consider alternatives such as using annual leave or unpaid leave, or perhaps alternative duties they can complete if reasonable.

Social distancing and shielding is not mandatory and it is the employees choice if they follow them. If the employee still wants to come to work understand why and try to agree a suitable alternative, carry out risk assessments, protect them as far as possible.