New Regulations were introduced on 28th September 2020 in England by the UK Government making it a legal obligation to self-isolate if an individual tests positive for Covid-19, is contacted by Test and Trace because they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, or living (or are in a support bubble) with someone who has tested positive.
Our Health and Safety and Employment Law partner Ellis Whittam have also advised that, in addition, there are new obligations on employers and employees. These are:
- An employer must not knowingly allow a self-isolating worker or a self-isolating agency worker to be present anywhere for work purposes, other than the place where they are required to self-isolate.
- An employee must inform their employer of their obligation to self-isolate when that arises.
In light of these new legal obligations, Ellis Whittam advise employers to bring in the following internal policies:
- If an employee tests positive for Covid-19, are contacted by Test & Trace and told to self-isolate, or live (or are in a support bubble) with someone who has tested positive, they must notify you (their employer) immediately. A failure to do so should be treated as a serious act of misconduct and will also amount to an offence under the new regulations that could result in employees being issued with a fine.
- When it becomes known to you (the employer) that an employee has tested positive, has been contacted by Test & Trace, or live (or are in a support bubble) with someone who has tested positive, employees should not be allowed to enter the workplace. If it is possible for them to work from home, you can ask them to do so. If employees cannot work from home, you should treat them as sick and therefore they should be entitled to [statutory sick pay OR contractual sick pay] for the self-isolation period.
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