Coronavirus self-isolation regulations: advice for employers
- AuthorHelena Oxley
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions)(Self-Isolation)(England) Regulations 2020
The self-isolation regulations set out obligations of employers and workers in relation to work and working arrangements. Below is a summary of these obligations.
The regulations are complex and I recommend seeking legal advice if you are at all unsure.
What generates the “requirement to self-isolate”?
There are two circumstances in the regulations:
- the worker has tested positive for coronavirus (the test having been done after 28 September 2020)
- the worker has had close contact with someone who has tested positive
What is ‘close contact’?
Close contact is defined to include:
- Having face to face contact with someone at a distance of less than 1 metre
- Spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of an individual
- Travelling in a car or other small vehicle with an individual or in close proximity to an individual on an aeroplane
What is the employer required to do for individual's who must self-isolate?
An employer who is aware of an individual’s need to self-isolate must not allow them to attend any place for work, other than where the worker is self-isolating. The employee can work from their home where this is possible.
Non-compliance by the employer with the regulations is a criminal offence and punishable by a fine starting at £1,000.
What is the worker required to do when tested positive for Covid-19?
Once a worker has tested positive for coronavirus (or are aware they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive) they are obliged to inform their employer. This obligation applies to workers and agency workers.
Notification must be as soon as reasonably practicable or at least before the next time the worker is due to start work. The worker must notify the employer of the start and end dates of the isolation period.
Non-compliance by the individual with the regulations is also a criminal offence punishable by a fine starting at £50.
How long is the mandatory isolation period?
The period of isolation begins from the moment the worker receives a positive test result or they are notified that someone they have had close contact with has received a positive test result.
As a guide, if a worker has tested positive the isolation period is 10 days. If a worker has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, the isolation period is 14 days.
These regulations came into force on 28 September 2020 and are expected to be reviewed within 6 months.
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