Age UK said there is “significant worry” that thousands of workers will be forced to choose between their job and their health.
One in seven workers with lung conditions said they will refuse to return to work even if it costs them their job, according to recent research by Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation.
The charities are also worried that employers will be expected to foot the bill for supporting higher-risk staff amid the recession. They have called for the Government to meet these costs.
If it cannot support businesses to keep their shielding workforce at home, it should help them ensure their workplaces are “Covid-secure”, they said.
Caroline Abrahams, the charity director at Age UK, said: “We fear thousands of shielding workers will end up losing their jobs because they can’t return to them safely.
“These people have made a lot of sacrifices over the last six months to protect the NHS as well as themselves, and they shouldn’t have to lose their jobs as well.”
Lynda Thomas, the chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Cancer cannot become the ‘forgotten C’ in this pandemic.
“Many people living with cancer are facing huge uncertainty and may be feeling incredibly anxious. No one should be forced to choose between protecting their health or going to work so they can pay their bills.”