Hassle Free HR – Self Isolation 

The rules for self-isolation are as follows:

  • Anyone who experiences a new continuous cough or fever should self-isolate for a minimum of 7 days. After those 7 days, if their symptoms get worse or they show no improvement, advice should be sought by NHS online, and it is likely a further 7 days of self-isolation will be advised.
  • Anyone who comes into contact with a suspected or confirmed case of Coronavirus should seek advice from NHS online, and will likely be advised to self-isolate for 14 days, even if they do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Anyone who lives in the same household as someone who is exhibiting Coronavirus symptoms should self-isolate for 14 days, even if the ill person only self-isolates for 7 days. There is no need to seek NHS advice to confirm that self-isolation is appropriate in these circumstances.

On 13th March 2020 the Government confirmed that anyone who self-isolates due to the above requirements will be entitled to receive SSP, even if they have no symptoms. On 28th March 2020 the Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus) (Suspension of Waiting Days and General Amendment) Regulations 2020 came into force, which means that SSP is now payable from the first day of an employee’s absence, rather than the fourth day, where the absence is due to Coronavirus symptoms or preventative self-isolation. This new legislation can be backdated to cover absences that started on or after 13th March 2020.

Employees have been advised that they can get an “Isolation Note”, which is the equivalent of a Fit Note, from the NHS online service. We advise all employers to be flexible with absence documentation requirements when an employee is absent due to the Coronavirus, because the NHS is understandably experiencing significant strain and therefore employees may find it difficult obtaining Isolation Notes.

The Government have been clear that any absence relating to the Coronavirus should not be included in any absence management procedures, even if the employee’s attendance record is already considered “problematic”. No employee should suffer a detriment for complying with Government and NHS guidance on this matter. However, anyone who has been advised to self-isolate to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus but chooses to disregard this information and remain at work, can be investigated and managed in line with the Company’s disciplinary procedure.