The DfE guidance
published on 4 November makes clear that for the period of new national restrictions, staff who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) should work from home and where that is not possible, they should not attend work. The DfE has also advised in response to a further query that where a CEV individual wishes to attend work, for example, if they feel the risk is outweighed by the mental anguish caused by staying at home, they can attend.
However, we would strongly advise any employers who have staff making this request to seek HR and legal advice. Even with a robust risk assessment in place, any employer allowing this would be acting in breach of the guidance which they should be following as part of their duty of care
. Furthermore, allowing a CEV employee to attend work while this guidance is in effect could also place employers at risk with their insurance.
If a CEV employee feels that they are going to suffer mental anguish as a result of not attending work during this period, as part of their duty of care, employers should include the support they will be providing in their risk assessment.
The guidance also makes clear that staff who are clinically vulnerable (CV), including those who are pregnant or those who live with someone who is CEV/CV, should attend work in line with current guidance. We advise employers to complete individual risk assessments for these staff.
CEV staff or any other vulnerable staff who work from home or do not attend work as a result of the government advice or an individual risk assessment, should be paid full pay in line with their relevant terms and conditions. See our updated guidance below for full details.
Download the guidance here