People at high risk from COVID-19
People who are at high risk of serious illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) must follow the same guidance as everyone else and think particularly carefully about additional precautions they might wish to take.
People at high risk will have been identified and contacted by the NHS. They may be referred to as being 'clinically extremely vulnerable'.
Their employer must also take extra steps to keep them safe, for example by:
- looking at ways to support their work, for example allowing them to work from home where possible
- providing extra safety measures at their workplace
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidance on protecting vulnerable workers, including advice for employers and employees on how to talk about reducing risks in the workplace.
If someone's been shielding
People at high risk may have been shielding during the COVID-19 pandemic. This means they will have stayed at home rather than go out to work.
The government stopped advising people to shield in April 2021, but those at high risk should still take extra steps to stay safe.
Check the latest government guidelines for:
- England – shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 on GOV.UK
- Scotland – Scottish Government shielding advice and support
- Wales – Welsh Government guidance on shielding extremely vulnerable people
When someone at high risk returns to work
If working from home is not possible and the workplace is open, the person at high risk and their employer should talk as early as possible about:
- how and when they'll return to the workplace
- what the employer has done to keep the workplace safe
- any concerns the person has about going to work
- any reasonable adjustments they might need if someone has a disability
- other flexible working arrangements, including hybrid working
If a doctor says someone should stay at home
A doctor may still advise someone who's at high risk to stay at home, even though shielding has stopped. For this situation, check your organisation's:
The employer should talk with them to understand the issue and see how they can support them. The employer should also consider if they can continue or start working from home.
If an employee lives with someone who's at high risk
In England, employers can still consider working from home for people who live with someone who's at high risk. People who live in Scotland and Wales should continue to work from home where possible.
If you live with someone at high risk and have any concerns, you should talk with your employer.