Covid-19: Fines for employers allowing employees to breach Self-Isolation Rules

The snappily named, “Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020” came into force at midnight last night, although they were only published Sunday evening. They detail mandatory periods for self-isolation, and a duty for anyone in England affected to notify the Secretary of State of the names of people in the same household as anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19. There are also serious implications for employers.

Regulation 7 is the one that affects employers in particular. This makes it an offence for an employer to knowingly permit a worker (that includes employees and agency workers) to go to any place other than where the individual is self-isolating (which would normally be their home). As well as applying to those people who have tested positive for Covid-19, it also includes individuals who are required to self-isolate because they live with someone who has tested positive. Therefore, if you know that one of your workers has tested positive (or lives with someone who has tested positive), you are now responsible for stopping the worker from working (unless they can work from home). This is important because any employer who fails to do so will face a fine, starting at £1,000 (and possibly rising to £10,000 for serious cases).

There is also an obligation on the worker to tell their employer that they are self-isolating, so you may find it useful to explain to your employees that they are legally required to do this. Any person who breaches the self-isolation rules will, normally, be committing a separate criminal offence.
Posted on 28 Sep 2020
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