On Monday 28th September the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force.

The regulations which only apply in England, create an obligation for workers to notify their employer if they are required to self-isolate. They also prohibit employers from allowing a self-isolating worker to attend any location in connection with their work.

Applying the regulations

Regulation 7 applies to workers that are required to self-isolate due to:

  • household self-isolation
  • being symptomatic
  • a requirement to self-isolate under the Track and Trace scheme

It states that where employers are aware of the need of a worker to self-isolate it is an offence for them to allow the worker to attend any place (except the place where they are required to self-isolate) for any purpose connected to their employment.

Regulation 8 states that workers must notify their employer of the requirement to self-isolate where:

  • they are aware of the requirement to self-isolate and
  • they are due to work or undertake any other activities related to their work

As soon as is reasonably practicable and in any event, before the worker is next due to start work within the isolation period, they must notify their employer of:

  • the requirement to self-isolate
  • the start and end dates of the isolation period

Failure to notify their employer could result in the fixed penalty fine of £50.

Enforcing the new regulations

Under the Regulations fixed penalty notices can be issued for a breach of the obligations as follows:

  • First Offence – £1000
  • Second Offence – £2000
  • Third Offence – £4000
  • Fourth Offence and any subsequent offence – £10,000

Test and Trace Support Payment

Employees on lower incomes who cannot work from home will be eligible for a new £500 Test and Trace Support Payment if they are required to self-isolate. The scheme is expected to be available from 12th October and will be backdated to cover those required to self-isolate from 28th September.

The eligibility criteria is:

  • The worker has been instructed to self isolate by the NHS Test and Trace service, either because they have tested positive or are a close contact of a positive case;
  • They are employed or self employed;
  • They are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result; and
  • They are currently receiving Universal Credit, Working tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based jobseekers Allowance or, Income Support, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit.

The payment does not affect their entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay.