The government has published a set of regulations which, among other things, make it an offence for employers and employees in England who are self-isolating to breach them.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 set out certain requirements on anyone notified of a positive test for coronavirus (COVID-19). These have specific implications for both employers and employees.

Regulation seven stipulates that where the employer of a self-isolating worker (which includes agency workers) is aware that they have to self-isolate, they must not knowingly allow that worker to attend “any place other than the designated place” during the period of isolation for any reason relating to that person’s employment.

In other words, if an employer is aware that a worker has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) then they must ensure that they do not attend anywhere to do any work, unless they can carry out that work from the “designated place” such as their home.

Conversely, regulation eight requires workers who have tested positive and have been told to self-isolate to inform their employer of that, along with the start and end dates of the isolation period. Regulation eight also stipulates that workers must provide this notification “as soon as reasonably practicable” but certainly before they are next due to start work within the isolation period.

As for agency workers who are aware that they have to self-isolate, they have an obligation to notify the agent, the principal or their employer (if they are not either the agent or the principal) of the need to self-isolate. As with regulation eight, agency workers are required by regulation nine to provide the notification as soon as possible or at least before they are next due to start work within the isolation period.

It is a criminal offence under regulation 11 to contravene regulations seven, eight or nine “without reasonable excuse."

Neil Guss, of Thompsons Solicitors, commented: “This all looks sensible on paper but the finances of self-isolating employees and agency workers are at the whim of the employer in the absence of government support and what is a ‘reasonable excuse’ is undefined.”

To read the regulations in full, go to:

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