Risk to disabled employees also requires careful consideration even if their particular health condition does not itself place them in the medically vulnerable category.  Disabled staff often experience stereotypes at work and may be worried about the impact of the current crisis on their health and job security. The Department for Education (DfE)'s advice documents for schools, special education settings, FE colleges and early years settings expect that most staff will go to work at their workplace. Employers should not just decide that, because the DfE advice considers it generally safe for such employees to return to work, any protective measures being put in place for employees generally are sufficient.  Each employee should have an individual assessment which considers their personal and local circumstances and the protection they require and which should be reviewed if circumstances change. Appropriate measures might include allowing the employee to work in roles where it is possible to maintain strict social distancing, allowing the employee to work in a location where risk is lower, or where necessary providing personal protective equipment (PPE).Â, Risk assessments should have the support of the employee concerned.  Measures which are implemented should be kept under constant review.Â. Supply staff working for agencies are covered by specific legal provisions which impose obligations upon agencies before placing workers even though the agency is not legally the employer. Individual risk assessments must be conducted which consider the employee’s domestic circumstances and local prevalence of Covid-19. Hugely increased case rates nationally with additional restrictions imposed in many areas and a national lockdown; Evidence that case rates are much higher among young people of school and college age than was previously realised; Continuing failures with Government’s test and trace system; and. Contact your local union for further advice about what is reasonable to say to your employer, or if you are being asked to work at school when you do not feel it is safe to do so. Pregnant women continue to be included in the Government’s list of those who are clinically vulnerable. Vulnerable teachers at higher risk from cononavirus have expressed their concerns about being asked to return to work in schools this week. As a minimum: 1. The rate of infection amongst secondary-age pupils has risen by 54 times since the start of September and they have a significantly higher rate of infection than any other age group. The following sections consider the position of staff in specific groups: older and male staff, obese staff, Black staff, and disabled staff. Assessments should consider what protective measures would be required for employees who attend the workplace. Individual risk assessments should continue to be reviewed on a regular basis, with particular reference to any changes in local circumstances, before any direction to attend the workplace. According to the most recent Office for National Statistics data, primary and secondary age children are the only age groups with an increasing rate of infection. Risks for ethnic minorities - The GMB has published a COVID19 risk indicator here while an NEU analysis is available here. The DfE has previously confirmed to the Joint Unions that it believes that ''schools should be especially sensitive'' to the needs and concerns of Black staff.Â. This should also be considered as an appropriate measure to remove risks to other pregnant women, in particular those who may be at increased risk due to other factors.  We advise pregnant women who are seeking to work at home or are suspended on maternity grounds to write to the employer to confirm they intend their maternity leave to start at the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC). Please ensure that you tell your local union if you have sent a letter to the head – they will need this information to keep up to date on the position of staff who require protective measures or feel unable to work at school/college and represent members. These safety measures should be communicated on (or even better before) arrival, in particular where engagements or visits will last for a whole day or longer. The joint unions continue to take the view that the DfE advice does not offer sufficient safeguards to employees.  We therefore advise all employers that, in order to ensure compliance with their legal obligations with regard to staff safety, the joint unions’ advice set out in this document should be followed instead. Employers should consider the mental health of employees when undertaking risk assessments, particularly where staff have previously experienced mental health conditions. The DfE advice for schools and for colleges on this matter for December onwards is largely identical to its previous advice (with shorter advice published for other settings). The joint unions do not accept the DfE position that all such staff can simply return to the workplace. Employers in schools and colleges should ensure that safety measures take visiting professionals into account and offer protection to them, as well as their own employees. GMB guidance can be found here and here.  Unite guidance is here. They should be read in conjunction with the advice set out above. Every contract of employment contains an implied right that an employee can refuse to attend their workplace if it is unsafe. The joint unions expect employers to conduct individual risk assessments for employees who are in known higher risk groups.  In some circumstances, working at home may be an appropriate protective measure.  Where staff continue to work in school/college, risk assessments should consider what protective measures such as social distancing and personal protection should be adopted for them. Clinically vulnerable (but not clinically extremely vulnerable) people are those considered to be at a higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19). It is essential to help clinically vulnerable people get back to work, whether that be homeworking or in their workplaces. The Employment Rights Act 1996 contains protections for employees who exercise their right to stay away from an unsafe workplace. (This advice also applies to all staff over 60 and all women in the third trimester of pregnancy - see below). Â, If members need support to raise their personal circumstances with their employer, they can talk to their union locally. The NEU supports our sister union ASCL’s call that heads should be allowed to move to blended learning. GPs and hospital … This advice is for school and college employees who are medically vulnerable or otherwise at higher risk from Covid-19 or who live with or care for such people. Many of these individuals are also at higher risk for other reasons, with age, sex, ethnicity, pregnancy and factors linked with economic disadvantage being very significant.  It also notes that absolute assurance cannot be given that contracting Covid-19 carries no greater risk to women at an earlier stage of their pregnancy and carries no risk to the unborn baby.  Finally, it notes that some pregnant women and new mothers may be at increased risk due to other factors.  The DfE advice says in relation to the RCOG guidance that “we advise employers and pregnant women to follow this advice”. The guidance to the most vulnerable not to go to work or school will end next week. The NEU does not agree that it is safe for CEV schools staff to return to working in school next week. If you are unhappy with your employer’s response, you should contact your GP to discuss it and seek further evidence to support you in trying to reach agreement.Â. The assessment must take account of their personal and household circumstances and, where necessary, medical advice. Again, the joint unions are reminding employers that the onus is on the employer to demonstrate that a safe work environment is in place for each worker. It is important to remember that employers are under a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments, which may in some cases include working at home, for disabled staff to ensure they can continue to do their jobs. The Government’s Covid-19 Winter Plan states that as the national restrictions end on December 2, so too will the guidance to the most vulnerable not to go to work or school. People at moderate risk (clinically vulnerable) have a condition affecting the brain or nerves (such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy) Unlike people at high risk, you will not get a letter from the NHS. Our advice on ventilation in Covid-19 schools and workplaces. Why is not yet fully understood, but the latest research points to structural inequalities. Where clinically extremely vulnerable staff are required to shield and are unable to work from home, employers should follow the latest Staff Council guidance on pay (Joint guidance on shielding due to COVID-19 - 23 November 2020) and visit the frequently asked questions around pay for staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Intelligent Media The NEU will be supporting their members who fall within the CEV category and wish to remain working from home. Details on how to contact your union locally can be found here for NEU members and here for UNISON members. Even where there is no specific risk-based reason for adjustments greater than those for other employees, the joint unions call on employers to consider what measures can be taken to address such employees’ concerns, including adjustments to working arrangements as well as counselling support. Pressure should not be put on staff to return to work simply because planning has not been done to accommodate the possible need for some staff to work at home. The joint unions are asking employers to agree, as part of their risk assessments for staff, that all CEV employees be permitted to work from home from September if they wish to do so. The joint unions are reminding employers that the onus is on the employer to demonstrate that a safe work environment is in place for each worker. Our stable of brands has evolved and grown over the past 14 years – today we are a market-leading education publisher which produces monthly publications, websites, events and other targeted information, specifically for school leaders, school business managers, bursars and the other decision-makers responsible for business management in their schools. 1. Age is the biggest single factor in increasing risk to individuals other than specific health conditions. Between 24 June and 30 June 2020, 58% of clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people reported completely following shielding guidance; this is a statistically significant decrease compared with data collected between 9 and 18 June, showing 63% of people were completely following shielding guidance. Commenting, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “We know that case counts are rising in schools, especially among secondary-age pupils. Â. Where an employee’s domestic circumstances are such that there is a significant risk of passing on the virus to family members who are themselves at greater risk, the joint unions expect employers to consider allowing the employee to work at home until that risk can be reduced, either by changing their working arrangements or by changes in the local situation. 115 Mare Street Other people have also been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of their needs. London, E8 4RU, Copyright © 2020 | Education Executive | Intelligent Media Solutions, Vast majority of children should stay at home and…, NEU comment on children at risk during lockdown. Current DFE guidance states: “As the national restrictions end, the guidance to the clinically extremely vulnerable not to go to work or school will also end.”. Protective measures will remain more important for them and, in some cases, may mean working at home. operating on site – to follow this guidance. For all CV employees, the joint unions again expect employers to conduct individual risk assessments in relation to working at home.  We are calling on employers to prioritise home working options for CV employees until infection rates fall locally.  This measure will be particularly important where staff have even greater increased vulnerability due to a combination of factors or work in roles involving greater risk.Â. As noted above, where the usual role cannot be undertaken from home, employers should consider temporary changes to duties and should accept that in a small number of cases, employees may be at home on full pay without duties to fulfil. “The issue of clinically vulnerable and extremely clinically vulnerable staff is a complex one. The joint unions advise members who are anxious about returning to work to contact the employer (see below). Main points. As well as expressing concerns about CEV staff, they challenge the minister to publish data on the number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths due to COVID-19 of school workers since the start of September. The degree to which individuals are at risk is affected by their underlying health and also very significantly by age, ethnicity, sex, and other circumstances described in this guidance. The joint unions believe that not only should age, sex, ethnicity and disability form part of every employer's risk assessment for individual staff members, but that the process should recognise the anxiety that particular staff may feel about their circumstances.  UNISON’s advice can be found here for school staff and here for college staff. The Government has ended its shielding advice to individuals who were previously classed as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), citing the reduced prevalence of Covid-19 in the community.  Rates of transmission during the second wave of Covid-19, however, have become higher than when strict shielding requirements were still in place. Clinically vulnerable teachers and school staff should work from home – NEU Newschain - The Newsroom. Joint statement on behalf of NAHT, ASCL, NEU, NASUWT, AOC, NGA, The Church of England Education Office, Mass Covid-19 testing in schools and colleges. NEU members can read this advice about seeking support with mental health and wellbeing. The National Education Union (NEU) said it is not safe for clinically extremely vulnerable staff (CEV) to go to school and has urged headteachers to allow them to continue working from home. If a school refuses to allow CEV staff to continue to work from home, then that member should get in touch with their NEU rep – and we, together as a union, will support them.”, Addressing the knowledge and skills gap in careers education. newschain. 2d. Schools and colleges currently fall clearly into this category. The National Education Union met with schools minister Nick Gibb to present evidence of rising COVID-19 infection rates in primary keep reading. Against an alarming backdrop of rising infection rates in schools and colleges government has taken the deeply irresponsible step of driving CEV teachers, support and school staff back into the classroom. Clinicians must take a holistic approach, recognising the wide range of clinical and social interventions that may be needed, particularly by … Initially, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable were told to stay at home at all times and to avoid any face-to-face contact to protect themselves from Covid-19. In England, 2.2 million people were identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) to severe impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19). Advice from 2nd December 2020; You can download and use our template letter (see appendix below) to write to your employer if you want to ensure the employer is aware of your health and other personal circumstances, in particular any recent changes of which it may not be aware. Where such staff decide that they do wish to return to work if possible, the joint unions expect the individual risk assessment to consider appropriate protective measures on the same basis as for other staff in medically vulnerable or known higher risk groups (below).  Schools should follow WHO advice and provide medical masks to all such staff who choose to come into the workplace and encourage their use in communal areas and classrooms. See our advice for the clinically vulnerable. The current situation poses a substantial level of risk for CV staff, particularly in areas of higher infection rates. We would also want school and college leaders to require any contractors – catering cleaning etc. Depending on local, domestic and workplace circumstances, working at home may also be the safest measure to adopt for staff who have vulnerable household members. The National Education Union (NEU) has written to every head teacher, employer and the Government to let them know that we think it is not safe to expect CEV staff to work in school or college and that instead they should continue work from home. Specific and fuller NEU advice is available for supply staff and for peripatetic staff. This is an important context to understand and acknowledge. Clinically vulnerable teachers and school staff should work from home – NEU. We … Following World Health Organisation advice more vulnerable staff, including those aged 60+, … Try the A-Z, Lateral Flow Testing in Schools and Colleges, Coronavirus: testing in schools and colleges, Coronavirus: face masks and PPE in schools and colleges, Coronvirus: Ventilation and temperature - schools and workplaces. However, employers should accept that in a small number of cases they will have staff at home on normal pay without work to fulfil. Black* people are known to have suffered a disproportionate impact in both the first and second waves of the pandemic. Â. By The Newsroom. The assessment must also take account of local prevalence of Covid-19. GMB guidance can be found here. Members should not simply stay away from work as your employer may treat your absence as unauthorised. A combination of factors relating to medical vulnerability and known higher risk characteristics can compound and significantly increase the risk to individuals. The government’s approach to school safety is inadequate and provides insufficient protection for CEV staff who should be allowed to continue to work from home supporting remote education for the increasing number of pupils who are isolating. Employers should adopt a similar approach to risk assessment which takes into account the full range of likely working circumstances and individual workplaces as well as individual and local circumstances. Teachers and school staff who are most at risk from coronavirus should not return to the classroom next week when England’s national lockdown ends, a leading union has said. UNISON members can seek confidential advice and support from UNISON’s own welfare charity, There for You. Combining this new-found strength with new ways of organising, we will build the power we need, as a union and as a class, to ensure that workers are not forced to pay for the crisis. The survey of members found that one in five teachers who were shielding because they were clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus had been asked to go into school. This advice applies from 3 December, following the end of the period of national restrictions. Teachers and support staff with CEV make up two per cent of the estimate wider CEV working population, with three per cent of all teachers/support staff thought to be CEV. Employers’ planning should include consideration of how the workplace will operate if a significant proportion of staff are unable to return to work, or if significant numbers of staff have to self-isolate or take sick leave as the term progresses. The impact of the pandemic upon schools and college has become far greater since September. The Joint Unions (GMB, NEU, UNISON and UNITE) continue to wish to support schools and colleges in remaining safely open, but do not have confidence that the Government’s measures and advice are sufficient on their own to achieve this. Definition of ‘vulnerable’ Some people are considered to be ‘vulnerable’ but not ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ in relation to Covid-19. The joint unions do not accept the DfE’s guidance that it is safe for such staff to travel to and from school/college and to work in school/college, whatever other safety measures are adopted. NEU joint general secretaries Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney have written to Nick Gibb. Together, we can shape the future of education. What happens when isolating pupils don’t have wifi? Science also suggests staff with weight issues as per the NHS BMI calculator might be at extra risk, especially staff over 50. When employees are working from home, they should receive full pay and this time should not be treated as paid or unpaid leave. The advice can also be used by school and college leaders when conducting individual risk assessments, and by union workplace reps in ensuring that such risk assessments are conducted properly. This includes assessing the individual circumstances for each employee before requiring them to attend the workplace. Clinically vulnerable teachers and school staff should work from home – NEU 27-11-2020 19:46 via belfasttelegraph.co.uk Teachers and school staff who are most at risk from coronavirus should not return to the classroom next week when England’s national lockdown ends, a leading union has said. These circumstances include the individual’s own health conditions, alongside any other circumstances which place them at higher risk for other reasons. A survey of almost 11,000 schools carried out by the NEU teaching union reveals that 15 per cent could be asking staff who are clinically vulnerable to return to work. The NEU position is that anyone living with or caring for someone in a vulnerable or extremely vulnerable category should not be expected to run the risk of bringing the virus home from work. For some staff whose usual role cannot be undertaken from home, a mutually agreed temporary change to duties/redeployment may be required to facilitate home working. WeWork Keltan House Please read the advice below about contacting your employer with regard to your risk assessment. Members should also speak to their GP if they are experiencing mental health concerns or other work-related health issues. “The NEU cannot in good conscience recommend that our CEV members go into work when asked to do so, and we will be advising them not to do so. It applies to people living at home, with or without additional support, and to clinically extremely vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities for the elderly or people with special needs. [*] ‘Black’ is used in a political context to encompass all members who self-identify as Black, Asian and any other minority ethnic groups who do not identify themselves as white. The joint unions expect all employers to have carried out individual risk assessments for employees before directing them to attend the workplace. NEU stance on vulnerable staff.  Employers should not just assume that all workplaces will be safe – steps should be taken to obtain the necessary information from other employers in order to validate any risk assessment. Employers must take proactive, sensitive and supportive steps to build up a full picture of the ethnicity and health status of their workforce as part of the planning to make work safe. The law requires employers to consider, when conducting risk assessments, the risks to employees who are pregnant or new mothers (those who have given birth in the previous six months) and to suspend them on full pay if it is impossible to avoid risks to their health & safety. GMB guidance can be found here. live with vulnerable people who are not clinically extremely vulnerable can attend work. Where staff choose to continue to work in school/college, risk assessments should consider what protective measures such as social distancing and personal protection should be adopted for them. To read NEU advice specifically for clinically extremely vulnerable members regarding the right to continue to work from home when the national lockdown ends on 2 December, click here. Employers should seek information proactively from each employee. The DfE continues to argue that schools are not high risk workplaces and that implementation of and compliance with protective measures will make workplaces safe for employees. Be at extra risk, especially staff over 60 and all women in the light of increased case and. With neu clinically vulnerable personal circumstances such as travel or childcare difficulties. of those who are clinically extremely vulnerable are... Get back to work, whether that be homeworking or in their workplaces can reach... 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