We strongly welcome Welsh Government’s change in advice for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (formally ‘shielding’) people who are unable to work from home, including supermarket and retail workers, postal workers, warehouse and frontline staff who are under immense pressure during this difficult and busy period. This is something we have called for since the firebreak lockdown was announced in October, and we are very relieved that the advice has now been changed.
Welsh Government has advised for some time that CEV people should minimise their contacts outside the house, and we have been very worried that those unable to work from home have been at a disadvantage and reliant on a sympathetic employer to do the right thing. This change in guidance will empower workers who do not feel comfortable going out to work with virus rates as high as they are. Trade unions will now work with Welsh Government to make sure that the guidance puts workers in the strongest and most protected possible position.
We now urge Welsh Government to do everything within their power to ensure that employers use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) for workers who are advised to not go out to work or must stay home to look after children who can no longer attend a childcare setting or return to school, so that any income loss is minimised.