Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding advice and support

Details of shielding advice to help people make informed decisions and access support services during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding advice and support
Returning to work

Returning to work

Our advice for everyone in Scotland is to work from home if you can.

Now we have paused shielding you are able to return to work, if required and it is safe to do so.

Employers must make workplaces safe for all employees. That means employees should be able to maintain physical distancing from one another. In some workplaces it is difficult, or not possible, to maintain physical distancing. Employers must put other protections into place.

We have updated our returning to work guidance for workers and employers. We will continue to work with businesses to develop safe practices.

Staying safe at work

We expect that the vast majority of people who are on the shielding list will be able to return to their work. Employers have a legal duty to protect your health and safety. This includes assessing the risk of exposure to coronavirus in the workplace. It also includes taking appropriate steps to minimise this risk.

Use our workplace risk assessment tool to assess your individual risk from COVID-19. The tool was last updated on 4 September to reflect the latest clinical advice on COVID-19.

You can use this as a starting point for you and your employer to discuss your return to the workplace. It will highlight steps you can both take to keep you safe. It should not replace any advice from your clinician or occupational health specialist.

If the risks to you and the kind of job you do mean it’s hard for you to return, some employers may be able to offer you leave. It is up to your employer and you to decide what is best if you are not able to return to your workplace.

If you feel it is unsafe to return to work, discuss your fitness for work with your GP or specialist care provider.

Scottish Hazards provide a confidential service for workers. You can contact them for workplace health and safety advice and support. You can call them for free on 0800 0015 022.

UK furlough scheme

The UK Government Job Retention Scheme closed to new entrants on 10 June. For those who are already furloughed, if employers agree, you can continue on the scheme. The scheme is set to finish in October. We will continue to urge the UK Government to consider the needs of employees who cannot return to work.


First published: 7 Oct 2020 Last updated: 16 Oct 2020 -