Industrial Health and Safety: Coronavirus

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 1st July 2020.

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Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 9 June 2020 to Question 51571 on Industrial Health and Safety: Coronavirus, whether the easing of covid-19 lockdown restrictions will affect the right of clinically vulnerable people to access (a) the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and (b) other support in the event that their employer cannot provide a safe working environment.

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

As stated in the answer I gave the Hon. Member on 9 June 2020 to Question 51571, employees who are vulnerable or extremely vulnerable, as well as individuals whom they live with, should be supported by their employers as they follow the required social distancing and shielding measures.

Employers have a legal duty to make sure the workplace is safe for their employees and should consider whether a person has a disability or is clinically vulnerable in their risk assessment. Employers must also consider reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities. In the first instance, employers should support clinically vulnerable employees in working from home, including moving them to another role if required. Where it is not possible to work from home, employers should provide the safest onsite roles available to enable them to follow social distancing measures.

If an employer is unable to provide a safe working environment, clinically vulnerable employees can still access a range of government packages including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (for employees who have already been furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30 June) and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. This support will build on the £1bn announced at Budget to support the financial security of vulnerable people, through a half billion boost to the welfare system, and a half billion-pound Hardship Fund for Local Authorities.

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