Employer Penalties for Employee Isolation Breakers

Coronavirus,

Amongst the various recent announcements is one that makes Employers liable for penalties if their Employees don’t self-isolate. Its important business owners take careful note of the risks involved.

In England, the rules are as follows:

It is a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid-19 or if you are identified as a contact and told to self-isolate by Test and Trace. This is outlined in law, that came into force on the 28th September 2020.

Penalties can be applied to individuals who fail to self-isolate if they have tested positive, or have been contact by test and trace. These penalties increase for multiple offences, and could be as much as £10,000.

Under the new 2020 Regulations In England, an employee is legally obliged to notify their employer if they need to self-isolate, under the above circumstances. It is after this point, that the employer becomes at risk. Potential penalties could, again, be up to £10,000.

The regulations are designed to reduce the spread of Coronavirus but also to protect employees being pressured to break the rules and attend work, for example if they are worried their job may be at risk as a result.

In practice however, it’s important that employers make employees aware of the new rules. It is recommended that employers communicate clearly to their team the process they need to follow to fulfil the notification requirement if they are required to self-isolate.

At this point, the employer should keep careful records of their actions, and any requirement that the employee attends the workplace. This is because the severity of the penalty for businesses found breaking the rules would depend on the situation.

Our recommendation would be to ensure that you have a clear notification process, as mentioned above. If you’re unsure, given the amounts involved, it’s definitely one to check with your HR advisor!

Please note: Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland currently have no similar penalty regime, as health is a devolved responsibility. As with so many Coronavirus situations this may well change.