If you are in the higher risk category because you are over 70, pregnant or have an underlying health condition that puts you at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus. The guidance for this group has changed as a result of the recent relaxation of lockdown measures.
If you can work from home, you should be equipped and supported to do so.
However if you cannot work from home, or are required to return to the workplace, your manager will assess this taking into consideration any adjustments that may be required and will enable you to return providing you can maintain the strict physical distancing measures outlined. If that is not possible in your current role, your manager will discuss with you the option to undertake alternative duties or a role that will minimise your exposure to COVID-19.
You should discuss with them any concerns you have about managing your return into the workplace and what, if any flexibility you need to manage any particular caring or childcare responsibilities.
You should work with your line manager to understand and agree an appropriate plan for your return.
Advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists states that generally there is no evidence that pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from coronavirus but pregnant women have been included in the list of people at higher risk (clinically vulnerable) as a precaution.
If you are pregnant, you should follow the latest government guidance on staying alert and safe (social distancing) and avoid anyone who has symptoms suggestive of coronavirus.
If you are in your third trimester (more than 28 weeks’ pregnant), please make your line manager aware, as you should be particularly attentive to social distancing and should only be allowed in the workplace if you can stringently adhere to social distancing measures. If that is not possible, your manager will make arrangements for you to either work from home, carry out alternative duties in the workplace that will allow you to stringently socially distance or be placed on Special Leave until the commencement of your Maternity leave.
Key advice for pregnant women during the pandemic:
- Follow the guidance on staying alert and safe (social distancing) and staying safe outside the home including appropriate use of face coverings.
- Keep mobile and hydrated to reduce the risk of blood clots in pregnancy
- Stay active with regular exercise, a healthy balanced diet, and folic acid and vitamin D supplementation to help support a healthy pregnancy
- Attend all pregnancy scans and antenatal appointments unless advised not to
- Contact your maternity team if you have concerns about the wellbeing of yourself or your unborn baby.
BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) Employees
Growing evidence suggests that people of BAME origin are more at risk of COVID19 and therefore will be considered as being in the higher risk group as detailed above.
If you are in this group, where possible, and as detailed above for those in the high risk group, you will be allowed to continue to work from home and where this is not possible, you must work with your manager to ensure that you are able to comply with social distancing and all other health and safety measures required to ensure your safety and wellbeing in the workplace.
The same protocols as detailed above for those who are in the high risk category, will be followed when considering a return to work for you.