Advice Column: Coronavirus – Shielding and Work

Thursday 18th June 2020

As part of the Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo weekly advice column, this week we focus on shielding and returning to work.

I’m in the shielded group. Do I have to go back to work if my employer asks?

If you’re in the ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ group, also known as the shielded group, the public health advice currently remains that you should stay at home and avoid face-to-face contact.

Employers are allowed to furlough people for any reason arising from the coronavirus pandemic, including protecting employees’ health.

If you’re unable to work from home, ideally, your employer will furlough you for as long as public health advice deems it necessary. If not, you may have rights under the Equality Act 2010. This would help protect you from discrimination.

It is important to talk through any concerns with your employer as soon as possible so that you can reach a solution that works for both of you. If you are a member of a trade union they will be able to help you to raise this with your employer.

If you’re in the shielded group and have been denied furlough, you can find further help and advice at:

Look out for our column next week when we focus on returning to work if you are pregnant

 The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Citizens Advice Exeter is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date information, please visit