Thousands of shielding workers to be forced out of jobs if furlough scheme is not extended

All employers with more than five staff are required to produce written risk assessments, showing how they are protecting staff from Covid-19. However research by the TUC revealed that more than a third of people returning to work have not been shown any risk assessment by their employer. 

Recent data from Public Health England showing a rise in Covid-19 infections in workplaces suggests that even when risk assessments may have been completed, they are not always being acted on. 

The TUC is calling on the Government to extend the furlough scheme so that vulnerable workers are not forced to quit their job or work in unsafe conditions. If local areas reintroduce lockdown restrictions following outbreaks, high-risk workers may once again have to isolate and need support in place to do so without losing their job, it said. 

It has been joined in its calls by charities including AgeUK, Carers UK, Kidney Care UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Diabetes UK, the Alzheimer’s Society and others. It is also urging ministers to guarantee flexible working, so that people with health conditions who were able to work flexibly during the crisis can continue doing so. 

Chris Greaves is one of the shielders due to return to work on August 1. He is considered at risk as he had a kidney transplant a few years ago.

“I’ve been on furlough since March because of that and am really concerned about going back,” Mr Greaves, 41 from Rutland, said. He works as a maintenance technician in a warehouse and said almost 20 of the permanent staff at his workplace had fallen ill with Covid-19.

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