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30 September 2020

What employers need to know about self-isolation

 

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1045) (the “New Rules”) came into force on 28 September 2020.

The New Rules introduced a new legal duty for members of the public to self-isolate if they or a member of their household have symptoms of coronavirus or are told to do so by NHS test and Trace.  From 28 September 2020, individuals are required to self-isolate for 10 days if they test positive for coronavirus.  Where they are instructed to self-isolate by NHS test and Trace, they have to self-isolate for 14 days whether they have symptoms or not.  Even if an individual tests negative during the 14 day period when they have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate, they still have to self-isolate for the entire 14 day period.

Under the New Rules, staff who are required to self-isolate must notify their employer that they are required to do so as soon as reasonably practicable, and in any event not later than the following working day.

Those on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result may be eligible for a new £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.

The consequences of non-compliance are serious:

Fines for those breaching self-isolation rules, starting at £1,000, in line with the existing penalty for breaking quarantine after international travel.  This could increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and the most serious breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating.

Employers who force or knowingly allow staff to come to work when they should be self-isolating will also be liable for fines of at least £1,000 and up to £10,000, sending a clear message that this will not be tolerated.  You may also risk 'bad press' as some of the fines can be reported.

Embrace HR can provide you with a Manager's Guide to Covid-19 which includes lots of information on the rules as well as scenarios involving staff.  Contact us for more information and a no-obligation confidential discussion.  

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