COVID-19 restrictions in the UK are expected to become more relaxed following on from Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement of the new road map to bring Scotland out of lockdown. It was announced that employees who are shielding in Scotland should be able to return to the workplace on 26 April 2021.
Before 26 April 2021, employees who are currently shielding should not attend the workplace and should work from home if able to do so. This guidance will apply when the local area is in level 4, it will only change when the area moves to level 3 or lower.
The Chief Medical Officer will send a letter with the updated shielding guidance. The letter will be known as “shielding notification” to inform the employer that the employee should not be attending the workplace if we continue to be in level 4 after 26th April 2021. The new shielding notification will be valid until 30 June 2021 and can be used at any point when the local area is moving to level 4 or lockdown.
When employees are shielding, they can still receive financial support from their employer to cover the shielding period. Employers may decide to utilise the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), allowing employees to receive 80% of wages, with employers paying for NI and pension contributions, however employer contributions will change as with effect from 1 July 2021. At present, the CJRS scheme will run until 30 September 2021. Alternatively, an employee may be eligible to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).