Coronavirus Update: How to Self-Isolate and Remain Economically Active

Monday, 16 March, 2020

As the country prepares for possible mass isolation of the over 70s, we are asking how those who fall into this category remain active at work.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics for Rest Less, the number of over 70s in full or part-time employment has been steadily rising year on year over the past decade.

From figures released in the first quarter of last year (2019), that number peaked at 497,946 – an increase of 286,000 or 135 per cent since 2009. Nearly one in 12 of those in their 70s were found to be working, a significant increase from the 1 in 22 working 10 years ago.

And yet, Dr Nicola Dann, a GP, director and founder of Commercial Occupational Health Services Ltd (COHS), has warned there is currently little Government guidance about the implications of long-term isolation for employees relying on an income in later life.

Dr Dann said: “We are urging companies to look at their business contingency plans and their flexible working policies.

“Options for some employers may include looking at split shifts to allow employees to continue working.”

She added: “As a company do you have the necessary policies in place to keep business going when older staff are having to self-isolate?

“The modern world readily lends itself to home working, but many, older generation employees may find themselves working in industries that cannot easily adapt.

“What about those aged over 70 and still in full or part-time employment who may be working as a bus or delivery driver, or the local post or milk delivery person with a part-time job in later life?

“I would advise that steps are taken to ensure annual licence renewal medicals for commercial drivers, over the age of 65, are not at risk of being missed.

“It is highly important for businesses to ensure they have the correct policies in place that will allow them to take appropriate measures to support their workforce and keep businesses operating.”