Isolation, Quarantine and Employment Law
It’s difficult enough to know where we stand during the pandemic with friends and family, who we can and can’t visit, where we can go, what time we have to go home, can we go on holiday? - the list is endless.
“It seems an age since March and our early zoom seminars with clients explaining furlough to them, now this weekend new Coronavirus regulations came into force at midnight on the 27th September 2020. These Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 are complex,” said Susan, who is Head of Employment Law at Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisors.
Important regulations for employers
The regulations set out mandatory periods for self isolation plus a duty to notify the names of people who live in the same household as those with a positive COVID-19 test.
Regulation 7 makes it an offence for an employer to knowingly permit a worker, and this also does include agency workers, to go anywhere other than where they are self isolating. So roughly translated you CANNOT and MUST not ask an isolating employee to attend any meetings, office or factory premises. They MUST isolate at their chosen home and CANNOT be made to visit anywhere else by their employer. This regulation includes individuals who are required to self isolate because they live in a household with somebody who has tested positive. Home working can however continue during this period unless the worker is off sick of course.
“As an employer if you contravene these rules you can face hefty fines of over £1,000. So if you find out a worker has tested positive or someone they live with has tested positive, you are now responsible for stopping that worker from working and must get in touch with them immediately. It is also good practice to communicate outbreaks to other staff members and be transparent at all time. In some cases the worker can continue to work from home and that is perhaps a better situation all around and after the last few months most employers are now able to adapt workforces and shift to homeworking where possible,” warned Susan.
Regulation 8 and 11
Regulation 8, is an obligation on the worker to tell their employer that they are self isolating.
Regulation 11, says that an individual worker who breaches self isolation will commit a separate criminal offence, the onus of responsibility here is on them not just the employer.
“I would suggest that an email or some correspondence to your staff telling them about these new regulations would be a good step forward. Everyone knows the goal posts keep changing and it’s important to make sure your staff are kept as up to date as possible to prevent any misunderstandings,” said Susan.
At Pearson Solicitors we have been in touch regularly with our clients during the recent pandemic, all summer we’ve briefed our clients on the changes in employment law as they happen. If you need advice contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 785 3500Subscribe to our newsletter
Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.
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