In recent days, I have been contacted by countless local people who are at particular risk from the coronavirus and are still facing uncertainty over their employment. These people are facing an impossible choice between going to work and risking public health or following government advice to stay at home and risking their jobs.
I’ve written to Chancellor Rishi Sunank to urge him to make crystal clear to businesses that at-risk workers who stay at home should be paid in full. Businesses who cannot afford to do that can apply to the Worker Retention scheme so that their workers can receive 80% of their normal wage from a government fund.
People are more at risk from coronavirus if they:
- are 70 or over
- have a long-term condition
- are pregnant
- have a weakened immune system
The government has provided specific health information and guidance to these at-risk groups, which can be found here.
Furthermore, there is a group of people who are particularly at risk of complications if they contract coronavirus. You can find the list here, but If you are in this group identified by the NHS as being at higher risk of severe illness you will receive communication shortly with detailed advice on behalf of their GP practice or specialist on how best to protect themselves.
A raft of new measures, including a helpline for the most in need of support, have been set out for those considered to be extremely vulnerable due to their medical conditions, so people know exactly how to care for themselves and others in the coming months.
I will continue to press Ministers and businesses to do all they can to ensure that workers can follow this vitally important health advice without fear of losing their jobs.