Employment: Disability

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 21st May 2020.

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Photo of Mhairi Black Mhairi Black Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance his Department is issuing to employers to prevent them from requiring disabled staff who are at a higher risk to covid-19 virus to go to work.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

Government worked with a wide range of businesses, unions and representative organisations to draft the guidance on safe return to work, as well as Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive. The guidance sets out clearly that the Government advice on vulnerable and shielded groups continues to apply, and that equalities matters should still be taken into account.

Clinically vulnerable people who are at higher risk from COVID-19 have been asked to take extra care in observing social distancing. Employers should help these individuals work from home if possible. The guidance sets out that employers should consider whether workers with a disability are exposed to any specific risks, including those who are classed as either “clinically extremely vulnerable” or “clinically vulnerable” to COVID-19. If so, they should take the steps needed to protect those individuals.

The guidance does not replace health and safety or equalities legislation; it provides information to employers on how best to meet these responsibilities in the context of COVID-19.

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