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People who are currently shielding can no longer get SSP on that basis from 1 August 2020

01 July 2020

The Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson has announced that people who are currently ‘shielding’ due to being clinically extremely vulnerable as a result of the coronavirus outbreak will not be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP) on that basis from 1 August 2020.

Responding to a written question in parliament the Minister said:

From 1 August. the Government will further relax advice to those shielding, bringing it in line with the advice to those who are clinically vulnerable.

In broad terms, this means that although the advice is still to stay at home as much as possible, those shielding may wish to go out to more places and see more people, as long as they take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household and follow hygiene measures.

This means that if they are unable to work from home but can work on site, they should do so, provided the business is COVID-safe.

Therefore, clinically extremely vulnerable individuals will no longer be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay on the basis of being clinically extremely vulnerable.

The government expects employers to do the right thing to help their employees to transition back to work safely and support them to follow strict social distancing in the workplace where they cannot work from home.

If employers cannot provide a safe working environment, they will still be able to access a range of government support: this includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for employees who have previously been furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30 June and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

Guidance around shielding will be continually reviewed and informed by the latest scientific evidence and advice. We will continue to assess the support in place should advice to shield be reinstated.”

Mr. Tomlinson said that for those shielding, they will continue to remain eligible for SSP if they are unable to work and:

  • are required to self-isolate because they, or someone in their household, has symptoms of COVID-19; or
  • because they have been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that they have come into contact with someone who has coronavirus.

He added that people may still be able to argue that they should be treated as incapable of work if they off sick for reasons other than coronavirus.

Mr Tomlinson's written answer is available from parliament.uk.

Gov.uk Advisory Guidance has also been updated and states that from 1 August 2020 shielding will be paused.