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End of self-isolation rules – how will these changes impact employers?

The Government has confirmed that from tomorrow, 24 February 2022, the requirement to self-isolate following a positive Covid test will end.

Whilst this is the approach the Government has taken, employers can choose to implement different rules in the workplace. Employers have a duty of care towards their employees and it is important that consideration is given to how to protect employees’ health and safety.

What do employers need to do?

Employers will need to review their policies and consider, for example, if those members of staff who test positive are required to self-isolate or work from home to avoid infecting others. Employers should make staff aware of any changes to company’s rules and/or policies and also take into account staff concerns, particularly those who are clinically vulnerable, live with or care for vulnerable family members.

If a return to the office is required, employers could face flexible working requests from employees who feel uncomfortable returning to the office.

What else do businesses need to think about?

It is also expected that free testing and the access to free lateral flow tests will end later on 1st April 2022. Employers should also consider what rules are in place to deal with employees who may be experiencing Covid-like symptoms but are unable to have a test.

The Government has announced that self-isolation support payments which were introduced at the start of the pandemic will also come to an end on 24 February 2022.

In addition, from 24 March 2022, the Covid provisions within Statutory Sick Pay will cease to apply which means that employees who have to self-isolate and are ill with Covid will only be entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay from the fourth day of illness, rather than from the first day as it was the case under the pandemic rules.

Employers should ensure their policies for managing Covid in the workplace are reviewed and updated to deal with all eventualities that could arise as a result of these changes.

Need further advice?

If you are an employer or employee, please get in touch with Laura Ramos, Employment Solicitor, if you have any queries or require a review of your existing policies.

Laura can be contacted on 0117 929 2811 or email: laura.ramos@wards.uk.com.

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