August 03, 2020
We’re here to guide you through the Coronavirus pandemic. Sign up to the Life newsletter for daily tips, advice, how-tos and escapism.
Im Getting Panic Attacks: How Shielders Feel About Returning To Work
Sarah, 39, is a care home worker from Lincolnshire, who has relapsing multiple sclerosis. This week, she’ll return to work in one of the industries most affected by coronavirus. 
Despite needing to shield since March, Sarah was refused furlough and has instead been receiving statutory sick pay (SSP), which has left her struggling financially. SSP is set at just £95.85 per week – £600 a month less than Sarah would have received if she was furloughed. 
But with the shielding period – and her entitlement to sick pay – ending on August 1, like thousands across the UK, Sarah is being forced back to work. “I have no choice but to return to work as the government stopped the SSP for shielders, so I’m being forced to choose between my health and earning some money,” Sarah, who supports the MS Society, tells HuffPost UK. 
She’s heard nothing from her employer, and says the only guidance she can find about working safely is to “keep a two metre distance”, which she can’t do. “I have so many questions and no answers from the government,” she says. “I haven’t been able to sleep for weeks and I’m getting terrible panic attacks.”READ MORE: How Likely Is A Second Wave – And Can It Be Prevented? The are 2.2 million people in England who are considered “clinically extremely vulnerable” and were advised to shield, according to the Office for National Statistics. Over half a million of those people (595,000) usually work.
Since August 1, shielders in England are now told by the government: “You can go to work, as long as the workplace is Covid-secure – but carry on working from home if you can.”
For those who are unable to work from home, the government states: “Some employers may be able to offer different types of leave. Beyond your statutory leave entitlements, this will be at your employer’s discretion.”Concerned about the situation, a coalition of 15 charities across the UK have called on the government to protect the jobs of workers who have been shielding. The charities – including Macmillan cancer Support, Age UK, Asthma UK, Diabetes UK and Parkinson’s UK, to name a few – have written an open letter asking for the furlough scheme to be extended for those shielding.  
An online petition echoing the letter has received more than 17,000 signatures.
The charities are concerned employees may be forced to leave their jobs or, as redundancies continue across the country, those shielding may be worst hit. 
A survey by Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation found one in seven workers with a lung condition said they will refuse to return to their workplace, even if this means they lose their job. 
Mark, 56, from West Sussex, is considering handing in his resignation. He usually works part-time as an activities coordinator in a care home, but has been furloughed, and is worried what will happen when the scheme ends. He has multiple illnesses that cause him to be classified as high-risk, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which causes breathing difficulties. 
“My employer has hassled me since the beginning, suggesting she would stop my pay, as well as constantly asking me when I can go back to work, but I have always pointed her to government guidance and law,” he says.
“I am thinking of resigning because I don’t think any care home environment can every be fully Covid-safe, and social distancing isn’t practical there either.”READ MORE: 'An Abrupt End': How Shielders Feel About Restrictions Ending Mark doesn’t want to resign, but he sees no other option and wants to protect himself and his family, as well as ensuring residents are given good care. 
“I love my work, but I can see no way I can keep my distance from the residents when my work is so close to them,” he says. “I am at a loss what to do now.”  
Some employers, though, have been working hard to help their employees feel comfortable returning to the workplace after months of shielding. Another Mark, 49, from Lincolnshire, who has been shielding with severe asthma, is “cautiously happy” to be returning to his Job in the operations department for a shipping company this week. 
He’s had positive meetings with his employer where they’ve discussed how the workplace has been adapted to make it Covid-secure. Mark hasn’t enjoyed being furloughed and is looking forward to regaining some routine. “Not knowing what was happening at work and having to shield was tough,” he says. “I had no structure to my days – I couldn’t work, go to the shops or visit family or friends. I felt pretty down and a lack of social interaction, fresh air and exercise saw my asthma suffer as well.”
Mark says he felt worse when he saw people on the news BREAKING lockdown and going to the beach. “I was jealous and angry,” he adds. “I also felt guilty I couldn’t work while my colleagues and Friends were having to battle on as they were classed as key workers.”Most people are getting used to this different world – and I’m just about to start.Mark, 49, from LincolnshireWhile he’s excited to be reunited with his team, Mark does have some nerves. “For four months I’ve only been in three buildings: my house, the hospital and a dental surgery. Now virtually overnight I’m straight back to work and suddenly allowed to go shopping and meet friends,” he says.
“I basically have no ‘Covid etiquette’. Most people are getting used to this different world – and I’m just about to start.”
When asked about the support for shielders returning to the workplace, a government spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “We understand how challenging the outbreak pandemic has been for the clinically vulnerable and we have worked tirelessly to support them. Employers must ensure the safety of those with such conditions when considering working arrangements, including whether work can be completed remotely.”
They stated that a package worth £160 billion has been available to date, including the furlough scheme, “which has paid the wages of 9.5 million people at a cost of £31.7bn and will run for 8 months in total”.
“We are also encouraging businesses to retain staff through the job retention bonus,” the spokesperson added. “As the economy re-opens, we must look at how to adjust our support in a way that ensures people can get back to work to support the UK’s economic recovery.”
Even with support from employers, this week feels like a big leap for those preparing to return to work after months of staying home. “I feel like I’m about to start a new job even though I have done it for 30 years,” Mark adds. “It’s right for me, though. I just feel sorry for those who are unable to return to work, because their job is not Covid-secure or they don’t feel ready.”READ MORE: This Is Where We're At With Treatments For Covid-19 Right Now Medics Are Taught To Spot Rashes On White Skin. That Could Leave BAME Patients At Risk Of Covid ‘No Hajj And No Hugs’: UK Muslims On Missing Their 'Pilgrimage Of A Lifetime'
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Dax Shepard reveals he relapsed after 16 years of sobriety | Page Six Celebrity News
September 25, 2020
yT7YuvLGDeY
Teddi Mellencamp’s 'RHOBH' exit and more Housewives news of the week | Page Six Celebrity News
September 25, 2020
FZ9FCO_lsKk
Meghan Markle reportedly has serious ambitions to run for president | Page Six Celebrity News
September 25, 2020
vQRPlbqIYck
Best Of TMZ on TV This Week: 9/21-9/25
September 25, 2020
AK7597t5iAA
Gigi Gorgeous Says J.K. Rowling's Dead to Her After More Anti-Trans Backlash | TMZ
September 24, 2020
eiKX6w8tL3Q
'Fuller House' Star Candace Cameron Bure Defends Husband's Boob Grab | TMZ
September 24, 2020
EAcv2jvjJxE
Max Ehrich Says He Learned of Split with Demi From Tabloids
September 26, 2020
oKKgDNItF-Q
Necessary Realness: Celebrities Dating Civilians | E! News
September 26, 2020
pFjBX1UlSJQ
"Marrying Millions" Hot Tub Hell, Dolly's Motel Romance & More | Nightly Pop | E! News
September 26, 2020
g059fqoqySo
'Julie and the Phantoms' Stars Cheyenne Jackson and Booboo Stewart on LGBTQ Representation
September 23, 2020
AmgkvK3xcJ4
John Cusack Says He Was Never Going to Play 'Breaking Bad's' Walter White
September 24, 2020
t8dtgMU4whA
2020: The Tipping Point for Connected TV Storytelling and Advertising - Variety Streaming Room
September 24, 2020
RtGX38E26SI
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
27
Sep
CHINESE TAIPEI: Premier League
Tatung - Taipei Red Lions
27
Sep
CHINESE TAIPEI: Premier League
Ming Chuan University - NTUPES
27
Sep
CHINESE TAIPEI: Premier League
Hang Yuen - Taichung Futuro
27
Sep
CHINESE TAIPEI: Premier League
Tainan City - Taipower
26
Sep
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Fiorentina
26
Sep
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brighton - Manchester United
26
Sep
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Betis - Real Madrid
26
Sep
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Bromwich Albion - Chelsea
27
Sep
KOREA REP.: K-League: Relegation Round
Busan I Park - Gangwon FC
27
Sep
KOREA REP.: K-League: Relegation Round
Seongnam - Incheon United
26
Sep
KOREA REPUBLIC: K-League 2
Ansan Greeners - Daejeon Citizen
26
Sep
MEXICO: Apertura
Monterrey - Tigres
26
Sep
MEXICO: Apertura
Pumas - Necaxa
26
Sep
PARAGUAY: Apertura
Cerro Porteno - River Plate As
26
Sep
BRASIL: Serie A
Atletico-MG - Gremio
26
Sep
PARAGUAY: Apertura
Sol de America - Olimpia
26
Sep
COSTA RICA: Apertura
Grecia - Santos Dg
26
Sep
COSTA RICA: Apertura
Guadalupe - Perez Zeledon
26
Sep
PARAGUAY: Apertura
Libertad - Sportivo San Lorenzo
26
Sep
BRASIL: Serie A
Atletico-PR - Bahia
26
Sep
BRASIL: Serie A
Internacional - Sao Paulo
26
Sep
PERU: Primera Division, Apertura
Sporting Cristal - Inti Gas Ayacucho
26
Sep
MEXICO: Apertura
Guadalajara - Mazatlan
26
Sep
USA: Major League Soccer
New York City - FC Cincinnati
26
Sep
AUSTRALIA: NPL Capital Territory, Championship group
Woden Weston - Monaro Panthers
26
Sep
SPAIN: Segunda Division
Fuenlabrada - Albacete
26
Sep
ENGLAND: Premier League
Burnley - Southampton
26
Sep
ROMANIA: Liga 1
Viitorul Constanta - Astra
26
Sep
PERU: Primera Division, Apertura
Deportivo Binacional - Carlos Manucci
26
Sep
PORTUGAL: Primeira Liga
Boavista - Porto
26
Sep
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: 1/8 final
Pakhtakor - Esteghlal
26
Sep
POLAND: Ekstraklasa
Jagiellonia - Zaglebie L
26
Sep
EGYPT: Premier League
Tanta - Al Ahly Cairo
26
Sep
PERU: Primera Division, Apertura
UTC Cajamarca - Cienciano
26
Sep
PORTUGAL: Primeira Liga
Benfica - Moreirense
24
Sep
EUROPA LEAGUE: Third qualifying round
Shkendija - Tottenham Hotspur
24
Sep
ENGLAND: League Cup
Manchester City - Bournemouth
24
Sep
ENGLAND: League Cup
Lincoln City - Liverpool
24
Sep
EUROPA LEAGUE: Third qualifying round
AC Milan - Bodo-Glimt
23
Sep
ENGLAND: League Cup
Leicester City - Arsenal
23
Sep
ENGLAND: League Cup
Chelsea - Barnsley
22
Sep
ENGLAND: League Cup
Luton - Manchester United
21
Sep
ENGLAND: Premier League
Wolves - Manchester City
21
Sep
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Bologna
20
Sep
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Liverpool
20
Sep
ENGLAND: Premier League
Southampton - Tottenham Hotspur
20
Sep
FRANCE: Ligue 1
Nice - PSG
20
Sep
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Real Madrid
20
Sep
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Sampdoria
20
Sep
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Napoli
19
Sep
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - West Ham United
19
Sep
ITALY: Serie A
Verona - Roma
19
Sep
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Crystal Palace
17
Sep
EUROPA LEAGUE: Second qualifying round
Lokomotiv Plovdiv - Tottenham Hotspur
17
Sep
EUROPA LEAGUE: Second qualifying round
Shamrock - AC Milan
16
Sep
FRANCE: Ligue 1
PSG - Metz
16
Sep
INTERNATIONAL: Club Friendlies
Barcelona - Girona
15
Sep
INTERNATIONAL: Club Friendlies
Inter Milan - Lugano
14
Sep
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brighton - Chelsea
14
Sep
GERMANY: National cup
Duisburg - Borussia Dortmund
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k tudKp5Vhs3k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.