COVID-19 Isolation Rules and Sick Pay Requirements

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As we enter the next phase of COVID-19, with restrictions relaxed and cases rising, we are already starting to see issues for employers, with increasing numbers of staff needing to isolate or because higher numbers of staff are off unwell with the virus.

This guide will hopefully answer the questions surrounding the different requirements with isolating, how to support staff if they do need to isolate and what the options are around paying your employees.

My employee has been “pinged” by the app – do they need to isolate for 10 days?

Yes – unfortunately, even though the app notification to isolate is not legally enforceable (no fines will be issued for not isolating) the Government confirmed on the 20th July that the requirement is that those notified by the app to isolate do so, and employers should support their employees to isolate.

Can I ask my employee to delete the Covid–19 app?

It is an individual choice whether to install the COVID-19 app or not. Employers should not pressurise employees to either install or to delete the app.

Can I ask for proof of my employee being “pinged” or notified by NHS Test and Trace that they need to self-isolate?

Yes – however this should be done consistently for all employees. Employees can supply a self-isolation note or they can show a screen shot of their NHS Covid-19 app telling them to self-isolate.

What about if my employee has received both of their Covid vaccinations?

The above still applies until the August 16th. From this date people who have received both vaccinations and 14 days have passed since the second vaccination, will no longer need to self – isolate, even if they are “pinged” by the app or notified by NHS Test and Trace.

My employee has been told to isolate by NHS Test and Trace or has tested positive for Covid, how long do they need to isolate?

The NHS guidance which can be found here. The self-isolation period includes the day the employee were last in contact with the person who tested positive and the next 10 full days. Or the day they tested positive and the next 10 full days. Or if they develop symptoms, the 10 days isolation starts again from the day after their symptoms started (even if you were isolating with no symptoms before the positive test, this means that your isolation period will be longer then 10 days in total)

My employee hasn’t been notified to isolate but has developed Covid symptoms, what should I do?

Any employee who develops one or more of the main symptoms of Covid should not attend there  workplace and should self-isolate until they have received a negative PCR test confirming they don’t have Covid. The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are; a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

What should I pay my employee when they are self-isolating or off work sick with Covid-19?

You should adhere to your company sick pay policy for all self-isolation and Covid ill health related absences. Statutory Sick Pay should be paid from day one for Covid related absences. Information can be found here.

Employees on low incomes may also be able to claim a support payment if they need to self-isolate, details can be found here.

It is good practice to not count Covid-19 self-isolation days towards an employee’s sickness absence record as this may encourage employees not to isolate when required to do so. 

Harwood HR – HR Consultants providing HR Consultancy and HR Outsourced Services.  We provide clear, cost effective HR advice. For a free consultation, please contact us on:

0117 439 0119 or info@harwood-hr.co.uk

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