Employers & Covid: New Self-Isolation Laws come into force today!
In the fight to contain the Covid-19 infection rate, the Government (Public Health England/Matt Hancock Secretary of State) has introduced new laws today that make it an offence for an employer to knowingly permit an employee (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.
Employers can be fined - Regulation 7, page 5
If an employer knows that one of their employees has tested positive (or lives with someone who has tested positive), the employer is now responsible for stopping the worker from working and coming into the workplace (unless they can work from home). Employers who fail to make preparations for their employees to self-isolate at home will be prosecuted and face a fine, starting at £1,000.
Employees have an obligation to self-isolate
There is also an obligation on the employee to tell their employer that they are self-isolating (regulation 8). Any individual who breaches self-isolation will, normally, commit a separate criminal offence (regulation 11).
See the Government's new self-isolation regulations here
Solicitor and Head of Employment, Vaishali Thakerar summarises the changes:
"What this new legislation means is that employers can't sit back from taking action when they know an employee needs to self-isolate. They must not come into work and the employers needs to ensure they don't.
It also means that there is now a legal emphasise on self-isolating employees TELLING their employers about their need for confinement - it is now an obligation and a requirement and an offence if they do not comply under the new legislation. This affects people whose family members or people they live with have Covid-19; who have returned from travelling abroad to a country on the Government's excluded list; or who have Covid-19 sympsoms themselves; or tested positive for Covid-19. Self-Isolation means just that. For employees who have recently returned from being overseas, the employer needs to continually check the Foreign Office's excluded list of countries as this changes regularly."
If you need further clarification on self-isolation, coronavirus implications and employment, contact us here.