Employers should keep up to date with the latest information on the vaccine rollout programme. Reliable sources of information are:
Employers should also remember that the vaccine is just one measure of protection and the extent to which the virus will further mutate is still unknown. Workplace risk assessments should still be carried out, considering workplace ventilation, hygiene measures and whether mask wearing is required.
In the UK, generally, vaccination has not been mandatory, and this has not changed for COVID-19 for the general population. However, from 11 November 2021, people working in a Care Quality Commission-registered care home for adults, need two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to enter the premises (unless they have a medical exemption).
As COVID-19 vaccination and boosters extend throughout the UK, employers must incorporate plans on the implications for their staff, visitors and workplace as a whole, covering communication to encourage take up and boosters; risk assessment; and vaccine policy.
Most people will welcome the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but there will be a minority who will be reluctant or refuse to have the vaccine. The reasons could be many and varied, including individuals who can’t have the vaccine (for example, on medical grounds), those who can have the vaccine but refuse (for example, on religious or spiritual grounds) and those who can have it but have concerns and are uncertain (for example, due to a fear of / opposition to vaccinations generally).
Ways that employers can encourage the take up of vaccinations by their employees:
- Encourage staff to get vaccinated by allowing them time off during work hours to get their vaccinations.
- Encourage staff to talk to their GP’s if they have concerns based on medical conditions.
- Amend Covid isolation pay arrangements to only pay SSP to staff who must isolate due to being a close contact of an infected person. (This should only apply to isolation, not time off that an employee must take due to catching the virus, which should be the same for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated people).
If someone at work has coronavirus – (as of 11th January, this is an area that is likely to change):
When to stop self-isolating
Following a positive covid test, employees can stop self-isolating after 7 days if they do a rapid lateral flow test on days 6 and 7 of your self-isolation period and:
- Both tests are negative
- Both tests were done at least 24 hours apart
- They no longer have a high temperature
If an employee does a rapid lateral flow test on day 6 and tests positive, they need to wait 24 hours before they do the next test.
Changes from 11th Jan
From January the 11th 2022 People who test positive via lateral flow test will not be required to follow up with a PCR test to confirm the result. This is a temporary measure. Lateral flow tests are for those people who do not have any of the Covid symptoms, so where an individual does have the symptoms, they must still get a PCR.
Changes for international travel
Furthermore, From January 7th, 2022, Pre- departure testing will no longer be required for Travellers returning to England. Upon arrival in England an individual will no longer need to self-isolate until receipt of a negative PCR test. Instead, a lateral flow test will need to be negative and taken no longer than 2 days of returning if this turns out to be positive then a PCR must be taken.