From 26 April 2021, the Scottish Government expect that people on the shielding list who are currently at Level 4 will be able to return to the workplace, if they cannot work from home. This is because, from this date, all areas now in Level 4 should move down to Level 3 or lower.
For staff who currently work from home, they should continue to do so as this remains the default position for the council.
Managers must contact employees who are currently shielding before the 26 April and discuss their situation with them.
Before the employee returns to the workplace managers must complete an individual risk assessment or review any existing individual risk assessment which was previously in place following the initial return from shielding in August 2020 to ensure that the appropriate Health and Safety measures are in place to allow for their return. The Individual Risk Assessment can be found here.
In order to support the process for bringing shielding employees back to the workplace a COVID Age assessment must also be completed by the employee. This assessment will help managers identify the level of risk an employee is at should they contract COVID 19 and will help inform the Individual Risk Assessment. Managers must make arrangements to send the assessment and accompanying guidance to the employee prior to commencing discussions about their return. The assessment form and guidance can be found below along with a more detailed guidance for Managers on how to assess the information on the form.
Not all shielding employees will feel able to return to work due to the nature of their condition and the inability to apply necessary health and safety measures. Managers should contact Employee Relations for advice in relation to these cases.
If an area an employee either lives in or works in moves into Level 4 in the future, the employee should work from home. If the employee cannot work from home, the Scottish Government advice is that they should not go to work while the area in which they live or work is in Level 4. Line managers should record these staff on iTrent as on Special Leave – COVID Shielding on iTrent.
The Scottish Government have advised that employees on the shielding list should follow this advice even if they have had one or both doses of the coronavirus vaccine. This includes the advice about work.
Manager should note that employees that are shielding have extra protection under the Equality Act 2010 and the Employment Rights Act 1996. However, it is also important to remember that all employees (not just those who are shielding) who reasonably believe themselves to be in serious and imminent danger are entitled to take appropriate steps to protect themselves if appropriate measures have not been put in place to protect their health & safety.
If you need any additional assistance, please contact the Employee Relations team.