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.

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

Returning to work

In general, our advice will continue to be to work from home where possible.

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 physically distance from one another. If this is not possible then other protections must be put into place.

Staying safe at work

We expect that the vast majority of people who have been asked to shield will be able to return to work. Employers have a statutory duty to protect your health and safety. This includes assessing the risk of being infected with coronavirus in the workplace. It also includes taking appropriate steps to reduce this risk.

We know in some workplaces it is very difficult, or not possible, to maintain physical distancing. We are updating our returning to work guidance for workers and employers. We will continue to work with businesses to develop safe practices.

You can use our workplace risk assessment tool to help you assess your individual risk from Covid-19. It can be used 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 is not designed to replace any assessment you might have had from a clinician or an 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 you cannot return to work safely, you can 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: 3 Aug 2020 Last updated: 5 Aug 2020 -