Going back to work

I have been shielding for 12 weeks due to taking Methotrexate. Work rang last week and said 12 weeks furlough up and can I go back next Monday otherwise I will be on sick pay. From the beginning of my shielding, my rheumatology nurse rang me and said due to where we live which is extremely rural that I could go out once a day to walk my dog as long as I kept safe, which I have done so. I am now concerned about going back to work and seeing people again, there are only four people in the office and desks are well apart, external staff won't be allowed into office whilst I am there to try and protect me. Normally I am a very confident capable individual, but these past 12 week have left me lacking confidence etc and well like everyone in this situation feel very vulnerable at the thought of meeting people again and keeping my health safe.


  • MoWW
    MoWW Member Posts: 74


    thank you for your post.

    I appreciate this is a difficult time for you and anyone who has been shielding, who now faces the prospect of returning to work.

    As you have been furloughed, your employer may be able to extend this for you. While your employer has made every effort to ensure staff stay safe when returning to work, for those staff who have a condition that means they have been advised to shield, additional discussions are required to ensure that you are protected.

    I have included in this post some links to organisations that provide advice on this. If you are a member of a union check out their guidance too.

    Our information is updated regularly. Guidance for those who should shield is on our website.https://www.versusarthritis.org/news/2020/april/coronavirus-covid-19-and-arthritis-where-to-go-for-information/

    If you have a letter advising you to shield, check the links on this, which should signpost to your nation specific advice. In addition, links to each nation can be found within the link above to our website.

    BSR, British Society for Rheumatology has produced some guidance and signpost to our website. https://www.rheumatology.org.uk/covid-19/

    The Government Co-vid 19 information https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

    I hope this information helps you to have an informed discussion with your employer, on the support they can put in place now, and for the future when you do return to work.

    Please let us know how you get on.


  • Trees
    Trees Member Posts: 11
    Thank you so much for advice and information, really helpful and yes will let you know how I get on x
  • Trees
    Trees Member Posts: 11

    Hello, update on work as just gone back this week. Wasn't as bad as first thought, everything in place for me to go back and just taking it day by day, confidence has come back after just a few days, think its good to be back in routine again, so happy days.

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,395

    Trees I am so very pleased to hear you are back at work happy and feeling safe!

  • Kazza52
    Kazza52 Member Posts: 74

    I have heard from my employer that they have complied with strict Covid 19 protocols in the office where I work and they have told me that they expect me to return to work on the 3rd August after shielding has ended. I have not worked since March when my employer furloughed me due to me being high risk due to my Rheumatoid Arthritis.

    I am a bit nervous about going back to work after four months shielding but I will make sure that I look after myself as safely as possible.

    Stay safe everyone. 🐶

    ADRIAN Member Posts: 17
    edited 20. Jul 2020, 12:01

    BEST luck be patient give urself least 1 week to seetle back into routine . I 56 lwr back condition 2nd degenrative changes arthrittiss mobility issues walk 20-50 meteres 1 go standing ques painfull . WORK work agentcy 20-30 hrs week 2, 3 days ZERO HOURS enough now . like ur seklf no work avaialble since 27 march 4 mouths 16 weeks . CLAIMED UNICREDIT UC . @ 56 PAYED 40 YRS CLASS1 STAMP / NI/TAX LIMIT GET FULL OAP PNSTION 35 YRS SO THATS PAYED FOR . ALSO NOW 3 milltion out work bosses can pick choose if ur over 50 + health issues hard younger fit person gets job . CANT retie early now 62 WORK 66 TO CLAIM OAP BESPITE IVE ALREADY PAID FOR IT . . STAY SAFE

  • LizaJane
    LizaJane Member Posts: 3

    Hi, I've been shielding as I'm on Methotrexate and Infliximab. I live in Scotland. I've been asked to go back to work when shielding ends, although I cannot always stay 2m from people while working as I work with 6 people in supported living accommodation, and I should do personal care, help residents to cook, give medication, serve food etc. I've been told to wear a mask if not able to stay 2m distance wash my hands and touched surfaces more and use gel. No one else in the unit is obliged to wear a mask. I have been offered unpaid leave if I feel I can't work. I live on my own in rented accommodation and have already lost 20% of my wage X4 months so this is not an option. I am speaking to my GP about a fit note to try and see if SSP is available after Aug 1st. I have found no information about furlough being available after shielding if I still can't work but my workplace is open. All the info in links is still about shielding.

  • MarzMac
    MarzMac Member Posts: 47
    edited 27. Jul 2020, 16:20

    Hi @LizaJane

    Welcome to our online community and thanks for your question. This community has a large number of daily visitors so hopefully it won't be long before someone else responds.

    You told us you've been shielding because of the medications you take and have now been asked to return to work in supported accommodation. We have a Working Well with Arthritis service in Scotland - you'll find the details here. Or you can email workingwell@versuarthritis.org to contact Mo for more tailored guidance. Were you advised to shield by NHS Scotland? This might make a difference to which guidance you should follow so please let Mo know the circumstances in your email. It might also be useful to state the nature of your employer - private business, public service, or charitable organisation?

    You'll find a series of questions about this topic answered on our website https://www.versusarthritis.org/covid-19-updates/covid-19-employment-and-work-information/ and there are specific pages for Scotland with regard to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

    There are also useful sections on this subject from ACAS https://www.acas.org.uk/working-safely-coronavirus/returning-to-the-workplace.

    I hope that's not too much information and you find some of it useful. Do go to Say Hello when you have time and give us a fuller introduction so we can get to know you. 😏

    Best wishes


  • LizaJane
    LizaJane Member Posts: 3

    Thanks, some good information there..

  • MarzMac
    MarzMac Member Posts: 47

    Also there's some guidance for employers on SCVO website you might find interesting: https://scvo.org.uk/support/running-your-organisation/leaving-lockdown/supporting-staff-volunteers

    Best of luck


  • 225
    225 Member Posts: 9

    Hi.i have been shielding since April as I am on weekly methotrexate injections.i had to return to work 4 weeks ago and was told my workplace would be made 'covid secured however this appears to mean a few posters have been put up to cover there backs!other than that everything and everyone is just as it was this time last year.i work in a busy factory with nearly 100 people there is zero social distancing I have to share forklifts cranes etc with other people and have a constant stream of people bringing me work.i feel like shielding for all that time was pointless covid 19 is spiking in my area despite being quite rural and the factory 100 yards away already has 27 confirmed cases!!!my work are just looking for me to quit so they don't have to deal with me.my health and safety reps and union reps have basically been told by the boss its his business and will run it as he likes!! This has been the case since coronavirus first reared its ugly head.i feel trapped and like I'm just waiting until I get this thing i have 4 young kids to support and am very anxious.id love to report them but I know this would get me sacked one way or other so I just have to carry on.the stupid thing is all these people have to wear a mask in shops and keep distance but at work it's like covid doesn't exist and certainly nobody cares if I get it.the world is a sad place these days full of selfish people.has anyone else had this type of reaction when returning to work?

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    Prior to becoming too crippled to work I was a professionally H&S Practitioner. Your employer has to introduce Covid measures by law, at the very least according to how you have described your job you should be wearing a mask and gloves and be provided with sanitiser. You can report problems to the HSE anonymously, they will not disclose your name or give any indication of where the complaint came from, they will just turn up for an ad-hoc visit. Go to https://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/concerns.htm

  • 225
    225 Member Posts: 9

    Thanks for the advice Mike I appreciate you replying. unfortunately I have dealt with the hse before about 5 years ago about a different matter and they came for a visit only stepped into the bosses office and left without even looking at anything in the factory!!!also I asked for confidentiality and yet my work still knew I had spoke to them and I then lost all overtime for 2 years!🤣🤣i have to laugh or id cry! So I have no confidence in hse sadly and as much as I hate being at work just now my wife and kids need my income.i do wear gloves and full face mask as part of my job thankfully and sanitise as often as possible and I try to isolate and not use the toilets but its frustrating when u ar in a very small minority.its my own fault I should of got out years ago!!!

  • Shaphron
    Shaphron Member Posts: 74

    Hi 225. I've had to go back to work as well - I'm lucky I'm not someone who had to shield personally, but my work doesn't have any Covid measures in place in the office. We've been provided sanitiser, but I don't believe anyone uses it (I've certainly never seen anyone else using it). There aren't a lot of us, but the office isn't huge either, we all share a kitchen and we have to work close to each other. I'm temporarily employed, so I have zero job security and no real way to complain. The worst of it is, given the size of the office etc, I can't really see how they could improve the measures either. The only thing I could think of was if we all had to wear masks all day, but I'm pretty sure no-one wants to do that. I feel like the whole "go back to your work place" push is completely separate to protection from Covid. It's like we should be extra careful at all times - except when we go to work because work is more important than being healthy...

    If in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout

  • 225
    225 Member Posts: 9

    Hi.i couldn't agree more I understand the economy needs to get back on its feet but it does feel as if Britain has basically said let's let all the vulnerable that can't afford to be locked away take there chances in the workplace!I'm resigned to getting this damn thing now i just hope I'm not one of the unlucky ones.😫🤞

  • Kazza52
    Kazza52 Member Posts: 74

    Hi everyone,

    Sorry I have not been on this Forum for a little while.

    After shielding from March I went back to work on the 3rd August and my firm (I am a secretary in a law firm) strictly adhered to COVID 19 regulations. On entering the building you have to sanitise hands, each of our desks have a Perspex screen and we are kept 2m apart. We also have individual hand sanitisers on our desks.

    I was a bit apprehensive about going back to work after four months shielding but I am the hygiene queen. When I come home from work all my work clothing goes in the washing machine and I think I must wash my hands at least 20 times a day. I have got into the routine of doing this.

    I would say to anyone who is worried about going back to work is to give it a try and if you are worried at all take it up with your employer. As the Government is now saying if you can work from home then that is the best option.

    Stay safe everyone.

    Karen 🐶