The new Self-Isolation regulations and what they mean for workers and employers

By September 28, 2020Employment Law

With restrictions locally and nationally being very closely monitored by the government, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force today (28th September 2020).  

The regulations now make it a criminal offence for an individual to breach his/her self-isolation where they have been advised to self-isolate through the NHS track and trace system or where they or someone they live with has tested positive for Covid-19.  The regulations also set out mandatory periods for self-isolation, and a duty to notify the Secretary of State or NHS approved bodies of the names of people in the same household as anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

Importantly, there is now also an obligation on a worker to tell their employer that they are self-isolating. 

For employers, regulation 7 makes it an offence to knowingly permit a worker (including an agency worker) to attend any place other than where the individual is self-isolating.   This includes individuals who are required to self-isolate because they live with someone who has tested positive.  So if an employer knows a worker has tested positive (or lives with someone who has tested positive), it is now responsible for stopping the worker from working (unless they can work from home).  Any employer who fails to do so will face a fine, starting at £1,000.

It is advisable for employers to update workers as to the new regulations and ensure everyone knows and understands the new reporting obligations. For any assistance with drawing up Covid-19 policies in line with the new regulations, please contact our Head of Employment, Ilinca Mardarescu.