The TUC has responded to the announcement by the government that an extra 1.7 million people are being asked to shield in England. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“This will be a very worrying time for hundreds of thousands of working people. Some will be able to work from home – but others will not. These new shielders who can’t work from home must not lose their jobs and livelihoods overnight.
“Employers must furlough new shielders who can’t work from home to keep them and their jobs safe.”
“Ministers must publicise the option to furlough new shielders, and should consider introducing a right to be furloughed for all those who are required to shield.”
Government guidance allows people to be furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they are shielding. The TUC is also calling on the government to introduce a temporary right to furlough for groups who cannot work because of coronavirus restrictions – both parents with childcare responsibilities and also those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and required to shield.