From 24th February individuals in England are no longer required to self-isolate if they test positive for covid-19. So what does this mean for you as an employer?

You have a legal obligation to protect the health and safety of your employees. Although employees testing positive may have no symptoms and feel perfectly well to work, you must consider your duty to protect other employees when deciding if they should come in to work. Particular thought should be given to clinically vulnerable employees that may be at greater risk if working alongside colleagues who have tested positive.

So what is the best course of action?

To fulfil your health and safety duties and protect vulnerable members of your team, it is wise to encourage employees to follow the government recommendations to stay at home and avoid contact with others. Wherever possible asymptomatic staff should be allowed to work from home.

The government recommendations suggest that individuals can safely return to normal routine if they do not have a temperature and return negative lateral flow test results on two consecutive days.

Full details can be found here:

What about pay?

The situation is relatively straightforward for employees who are able to continue working from home but what if they can’t? Until 24th March Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) remains available for employees that test positive but are not unwell. After 24th March SSP eligibility will revert to pre-pandemic rules so will be dependant on incapacity for work.

You may have a contractual sick pay scheme in place which protects your employees for a period of sickness absence. If you don’t and employees are unable to work from home, they may be reluctant to declare a positive result if they are concerned about losing pay.

To avoid the spread of covid throughout the workplace you may wish to consider providing sick pay even where there is no contractual entitlement or statutory right.


The approach you take will be the one that best fits your company size, culture and resources. It is important to be fair and reasonable in dealing with this type of absence. Whatever your policy, make sure you communicate it clearly and apply your principles consistently.

If you’re unsure and need further advice on your particular situation get in touch for more advice.