On 28th September The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force, tightening and clarifying the legal duties for employers and employees needing to self isolate.

Under the new regulations, employees must inform their employer if they have been told to self-isolate following a positive test for Covid19, or they have been told to isolate having come in to close contact with someone who has tested positive.

The restrictions do not apply where an employee has been notified by the NHS app that they have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive and is aimed to support enforcement where they have been contacted by Test and Trace or a testing body.

Employees from Monday must inform their employer if they have been told to self-isolate and cannot attend work.  They must do this as quickly as possible after being notified and prior to the start of the next working day/shift.  Failure to do so could lead to the employee being fined £50.

Self-isolation means remain at home, except where the employee needs to:

  • to get medical assistance, where this is required urgently or on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, including dentists, specialists, opticians etc
  • to access veterinary services, where this is required urgently or on the advice of a veterinary surgeon
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, including attending court
  • to avoid a risk of harm
  • to attend the funeral of a close family member
  • to obtain basic necessities, such as food and medical supplies for those in the same household where it can’t be done online etc
  • to access critical public services, including social services, and services provided to victims (such as victims of crime)
  • to move to a different place where it becomes impracticable to remain at the address they are at

Employers also have a legal obligation:

where the employer of a self-isolating worker or a self-isolating agency worker is aware of the requirement to self-isolate, the employer must not knowingly allow the worker or self-isolating agency worker to attend any place other than the designated place (home), during an isolation period, for any purpose related to the worker’s or self-isolating agency worker’s employment.

Where an employer and or employee knowingly breach these roles they may be subject to a fine/fixed penalty notice as follows:

  • First offence £1,000
  • Second offence £2,000
  • Third offence £4,000
  • Fourth offence £10,000

Self Isolation – legal duties of employer and employee