From yesterday, 24 February, the Government has removed the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test.

In the wake of this, employers are reminded to be vigilant and to keep in mind their responsibilities when keeping staff safe at work.

What else is changing?

The end of the self-isolation period isn’t all that has shifted in light of the new announcement.

The right to claim statutory sick pay from the first day of Covid-related absence has also been withdrawn, meaning that those off sick with the virus will only be paid from the fourth day.

As well as this, lateral flow tests and PCR tests will no longer be free from 1 April, with the public and businesses required to buy their own tests if needed.

The announcement has also come in conjunction with a campaign to get employees back to the office and on the road back to normality.

What does this mean for employers?

With restrictions being lifted, a number of employers may consider putting their own Covid-19 policies in place for their staff.

It is advisable to keep workplaces safe, for example with good ventilation, cleaning, and hygiene. Protecting the health of your employees should continue to be a priority.

Employers may also wish to continue with their working from home policies or maintain a hybrid working model if this has not already been put in place.

“When deciding what rules and guidance to put in place, employers need to be led by the principles of what is fair and reasonable to ask, respecting that many people with vulnerabilities will still be very concerned about coming into places of work,” said CIPD chief executive, Peter Cheese.

Should employees with Covid stay at home?

Most employers will suggest that employees use their common sense and stay off work if they are unwell, like they would do with any other kind of flu or illness.

However, this may well depend on the nature of your company. If you work in health or social care, for example, it will likely be preferable for staff to be testing negative and self-isolate if needed. 

According to a poll of 250 business leaders, almost one in three UK employers will not require staff who test positive to self-isolate when restrictions come to an end.

48 per cent of those surveyed plan to tell staff with Covid to stay at home, while 21 per cent are uncertain how they will handle the easing of self-isolation restrictions.

Are you unsure of how to proceed? Let’s talk.