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Written Question
Employment: Coronavirus
Wednesday 20th May 2020

Asked by: Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon (Labour - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with trade unions about identifying staff at greatest risk of contracting COVID-19 and re-assigning the duties of such staff.

Answered by Lord Callanan - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

We recognise that some workers will be anxious about returning to work and understand that all employees should feel safe.

The Government has stated that vulnerable people who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) need to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. Members of staff who are vulnerable or extremely vulnerable, as well as individuals whom they live with, should be supported by their employers as they follow the required social distancing and shielding measures.

It’s critical that employers offer safe workplaces. The Government has published new guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These guides cover a range of working environments and are available at

This guidance has been developed by the Department for Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with input from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Our continued engagement with the trade unions provides a useful insight into the information and best practice that might support us in ensuring that businesses can reopen whilst adhering to the social distancing guidelines.