Duty to self-isolate means employers can face substantial fines

On 28 September 2020 new regulations came into force making self-isolation a legal requirement  and introducing penalties for individuals and employers in England; The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1045), (“Self Isolating Regulations”).

The Self-Isolating Regulations require anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19, or has been officially notified by NHS Test and Trace that they have been in contact with someone who has, to self-isolate for 10 or 14 days respectively.

Self-isolating workers, including agency workers, who are due to go into work must notify their  employer, or the employment business or client in the case of an agency worker, that they are required to self-isolate, as soon as reasonably practicable and not later than their next working day. In the case of agency workers, the recipient of the notification must inform others in the agency chain.

Where an employer is aware of the worker’s or agency worker’s requirement to self-isolate, they must not allow them to work in any place other than the place where they are self-isolating.

Anyone who unreasonably fails to self-isolate is liable to be fined between £1,000 and £10,000 for repeat offences and serious breaches.

Employers also risk the same level of fines where they knowingly allow self-isolating staff to come to work without reasonable excuse.

Employers and staff need to understand their legal obligations under the new regulations or risk significant financial penalties. Employers should make it clear to workers that if they fail to notify their employer of a requirement to self-isolate as soon as is reasonably practicable it may become a disciplinary matter.

Employees and workers who are required to self-isolate are entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay from the first day they are absent from work. If an employee or worker is able to continue working  from home where they are self-isolating then they should be paid their usual pay.

If you have any queries regarding this communication or need employment advice please contact a member of the Employment Team on employment@rowberrymorris.co.uk or by telephone on 0118 951 6621.