On 28 September, the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Self-Isolation)(England) Regulations 2020 came into force. These Regulations require anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19 or has been officially notified by NHS Test and Trace (other than by the NHS smartphone app) that they have been in contact with someone who has to self-isolate for ten or 14 days respectively. It is an offence to fail to comply. Employers in breach of this provision can be fined up to £10,000 based on a sliding scale (starting at £1,000 and increasing for repeat offences).
These Regulations make it an offence for you to knowingly permit a worker to attend any place other than the place of self-isolation. Regulation 8 obliges employees or workers to tell their employer of the fact of self-isolation.
We also know of other circumstances in which an employee might need to self-isolate.
Businesses may find it useful to have a policy, so that they can effectively communicate this information to your staff. In some circumstances of absence or self-isolation, it may be unclear as to what you must pay your employees. My advice is to take a consultative approach and deal with incidents on a case by case basis. I would be happy to discuss policy options and guidelines with business owners and can provide example documents to use.
In case of claims of unequal treatment, as in always I strongly advise that business owners keep detailed notes of the circumstances and what is agreed in each case.
If you need specific advice about any particular incident or scenario, please do contact me for further advice.