People who have been shielding from coronavirus and can’t safely return to work from 1st August risk losing their jobs and livelihoods, warns a coalition of charities including Ovarian Cancer Action.
The Government has announced that shielding restrictions will be lifted across parts of the country from 1st August. From this date employers can ask those previously shielding to return to work. This is a particular worry for women with ovarian cancer who cannot work from home, but cannot return to work safely as they remain at risk of severe illness if they catch Covid-19.
In March the Government asked around 627,000 people who had been in work to stay at home and ‘shield’ from the coronavirus, including many women living with ovarian cancer. One in three (31%) – nearly 200,000 people – were furloughed and could not work from home.
A new report published today by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) highlights that tens of thousands of people may not be able to safely go back to work because they still face a high risk of severe illness if they catch coronavirus. The furlough scheme is also changing on the 1st August, meaning employers will have to start making contributions for furloughed employees. This change could lead to redundancies for those who cannot return to work.
Ovarian Cancer Action has joined a coalition of charities and the TUC to call on the Government to extend the current furlough scheme for shielding workers who cannot return to work safely, and cannot work from home either.
Marie-Claire Platt, Head of Public Affairs and Research at Ovarian Cancer Action said: “Women with ovarian cancer who are shielding have been asked to give up a lot since lockdown began - many haven’t seen their families or friends, many haven’t left the house at all for four months, and now these changes put their livelihoods at risk too. We are calling on the Government to take action to ensure those who have been shielding don’t have to decide between their health or their jobs after the 1st August.”
Find out more about the government advice for people with ovarian cancer during Coronavirus here.