Employers must ensure that they furlough any new shielders who are not able to work from home, the TUC has warned.
It comes as the government announced that an extra 1.7 million people are being asked to shield in England who were not previously on the list.
The update comes after research, commissioned by England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty and funded by the National Institute of Health Research, found there are several health and personal factors, such as age, ethnicity and body mass index (BMI), as well as certain medical conditions and treatments, which, when combined, could mean someone is at a higher risk from COVID-19.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This will be a very worrying time for hundreds of thousands of working people. Some will be able to work from home – but others will not. These new shielders who can’t work from home must not lose their jobs and livelihoods overnight.
“Employers must furlough new shielders who can’t work from home to keep them and their jobs safe.”
She added: “Ministers must publicise the option to furlough new shielders, and should consider introducing a right to be furloughed for all those who are required to shield.”