New Coronavirus Regulations take immediate effect
Last night (Sunday 27th September 2020), the government released the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 which took immediate effect at midnight.
We are still digesting the content of the Regulations, which are complex and which set out mandatory periods for self-isolation and a duty to notify the Secretary of State of the names of people in the same household as anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
Employers need to be aware of the Regulations because they make it an offence for an employer to knowingly permit a worker (including agency worker) to attend any place other than where the individual is self-isolating. This includes individuals who are required to self-isolate because they live with someone who has tested positive.
The implication of this is that if an employer knows that a worker has tested positive (or lives with someone who has tested positive), it is that employer who is now responsible for stopping the worker from working (unless they can work from home). Any employer who fails to do so will face a minimum £1,000 fine.
In addition the Regulations also place a worker under an obligation to tell their employer that they are self-isolating and any individual who breaches self-isolation will be considered to have committed a criminal offence.
Employers are advised to provide their employees with an urgent update following the introduction of the Regulations to set out, very clearly, what the expectations are when it comes to notifying of any requirement to self-isolate. There is no specific format that this update needs to take although we would recommend there being a written instruction on record.
The new Regulations can be found by clicking HERE
Regulation 3 sets out the isolation periods (this is relevant for employers when it comes to sickness absence); Regulation 7 introduces the employer obligations regarding worker self-isolation and Regulation 8 sets out the worker notification.