28 September 2020
New Coronavirus Health Protection Regulations come into force for employers
At midnight on 28 September 2020, the new Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force.
The complex legislation specifies compulsory periods for self-isolation and tightens up notification requirements of those who have contracted or those who live with someone who has contracted Covid-19.
For employers, they should be particularly aware of Regulation 7, which states it is an offence for an employer to knowingly allow an employee or agency worker who has tested positive for Coronavirus to attend anywhere other than where that person is self-isolating. Importantly, this also involves people who need to self-isolate because they live with someone who has tested positive for the virus.
It is now the employer’s responsibility to stop that employee or agency worker from working (unless they can do so from home). If the employer fails to comply, a fine, starting at £1,000, could be imposed. There is also a worker’s duty to inform their employer that they are self-isolating.
In addition, from today, people across England are legally required to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus or are contacted by the Test and Trace service, otherwise they face fines of up to £10,000.
Chris Brazier, employment partner, B P Collins:
“This is a complex and lengthy set of rules for employers to get their heads around or risk severe penalties that back up the new Regulations. They also come at the same time as employers are dealing with the end of the furlough scheme, potentially gearing up for the new Job Support Scheme and trying to run their businesses in challenging times".