• Posted

From Monday 16 August people who have come into contact with a positive covid case and are double-jabbed or under 18 years old will no longer be legally required to self-isolate or take a PCR test.

If someone is contacted by NHS test and trace as a result of close contact with a positive case, they will be advised to take a PCR test to detect whether they have contracted the virus. If the individual is not displaying covid-like symptoms, there is no requirement for an employee take a PCR test or to self-isolate pending the result of the PCR test if they choose to take one, but if they then receive a positive test result, they must self-isolate in accordance with the self-isolation rules. Individuals who develop symptoms will be required to take a PCR result and self-isolate pending their results.

The exemption from self-isolation for double-jabbed individuals only applies if an individual received their second dose at least 14 days prior to the close contact with a positive covid case.

Key employment implications:

  • The responsibility is on the employee to self-isolate if they either receive a positive test result, develop covid-like symptoms, or they are not double-jabbed
  • Employers must not encourage employees to attend the workplace if they know that they should be self-isolating
  • Employers do not need to request proof of an employee’s vaccination status since the responsibility to self-isolate rests with the employee
  • However, employers should:
    • notify all employees of the changes in self-isolation rules
    • confirm that if an employee attends the workplace after receiving a notification to self-isolate that they are deemed to be confirming that they fall within one of the exemptions detailed above
    • inform employees that if they attend the workplace when they are required to self-isolate, this would constitute an act of gross misconduct which could lead to their dismissal.

The changes to the regulations do not apply to a “ping” from the NHS covid app because isolation in these circumstances is not mandatory, but it is advisable for employers to follow similar procedures, to protect the health and safety of its workforce, and protect against liability claims by employees.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.