Covid-19: employers who allow self-isolating workers into the workplace face fines of up to £10,000

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Posted on 28 Sep 2020

The Government has published regulations outlining the new legal requirement for individuals to self-isolate and making it illegal for employers to allow self-isolating employees into the workplace. The regulations came into effect on 28 September 2020 and only apply in England.

The requirement to self-isolate

Under the regulations, individuals must self-isolate if after 28 September they test positive for Covid-19 or if they are notified by NHS Track and Trace that they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.  

Individuals required to self-isolate will have to designate an address where they will self-isolate. 

Anyone who breaches the duty to self-isolate without a reasonable excuse commits a criminal offence and will be fined.

Notifying employers

If a worker is due to attend a workplace while self-isolating, they must tell their employer as soon as reasonably practicable (and not later than their next working day) that they are required to self-isolate. They must also give the start and end dates of their isolation period.  

Those on lower incomes who cannot work from home and lose income as a result will be eligible for a new £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.

Employer offence

Employers who without a reasonable excuse knowingly permit a worker (including an agency worker) to attend any place for work purposes, other than the address where they are self-isolating, will commit an offence. Employers must therefore ensure workers required to self-isolate are able to work remotely or, if that is not possible, that they stop working.

Company officers may also be guilty of an offence if the employer acted with their consent/connivance or if the employer’s offence was due to their negligence.

Any breach will lead to a fixed penalty fine, starting at £1,000 and rising to £10,000 for repeat offenders. If the fine is paid within 28 days, the person will not be convicted of an offence. 

The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.

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