Update on employment issues arising out of COVID-19 - Sep 2020

By : Administrator
Published 23rd September 2020 |
Read latest comment - 24th September 2020

An employment lawyer I work with, Amanda Pillinger, has just published an interesting update based on the latest announcements, which I thought business owners, self-employed, or employees alike might find useful. Amanda's post is below:

Having watch the PM speak in the House of Commons today, it is clear that the new rules will result in further difficulties for businesses. We are also seeing increasing cases of school children being instructed to self-isolate due to positive tests.

I thought it would be a good time to set out the current position relating to employee rights.

Self-Isolation

1. Employee tests positive
Employee must self-isolate for 10 days and will be contacted by test and trace.

2. Employee develops symptoms
Employee must self-isolate for 10 days.Employee is eligible for a test

  • Positive test – employee must continue to self-isolate for 10 days and will be contacted by test and trace.
  • Negative test – employee may return to work (provided no-one else in their household has symptoms OR everyone who had symptoms has tested negative)

3. Someone in employee’s household develops symptoms
Employee must self-isolate for 14 days.

  • Positive test of person with symptoms – employee must continue to self-isolate for 14 day period

IF ALL people in household with symptoms have a negative test, the employee may return to work

4. Someone in the employee’s household tests positive
Employee must self-isolate for 14 days.

If employee develops symptoms, they should arrange a test.

  • Positive test – must self-isolate for 10 days
  • Negative test – rest of house hold must still self-isolate for 14 day period

5. Employee contacted by test and trace
Employee must self-isolate for 14 days. If symptoms develop, arrange to be tested as soon as possible.

  • Positive test – self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days
  • Negative test – must continue to self-isolate for 14 day period

6. Employee returns to the UK from abroad and is subject to compulsory 14 day quarantine
Employee must self-isolate for 14 days. If symptoms develop, arrange to be tested as soon as possible.

Please note that the 10 day period means 10 days from the development of symptoms. The 14 day period starts from the day that the first person in the household became unwell or, if contacted by Test and Trace, 14 days from the date of the last contact with the person who has tested positive.

Shielding has been paused so, other than in areas of local lockdown, there is no need for people to follow previous shielding advice.

Entitlement to Pay
Where employees are able to work from home, they should be permitted to do so during any period of self-isolation (indeed, guidance is now for all employees to work from home if possible).

Where it is not possible for employees to work from home, other than employees who are self-isolating on return to the UK from abroad, employees are entitled to SSP when they are self-isolating as they are doing so in accordance with the advice of Public Health England.

Employees who are self-isolating on return to the UK from abroad are not entitled to SSP (even if the rules change whist they are abroad). As such, if they are not able to work from home, they are not entitled to any pay during this period.

Requiring proof of self-isolationEmployers are permitted to require reasonable evidence of any requirement to self-isolate. Self-isolation certificates are available online and the validity of these can be checked. Results of tests are often sent by text message or email and it is reasonable for an employer to require employees to show this prior to their return to work.

Redundancy
It is not reasonable to select someone for redundancy, based on their absence due to self-isolation. Such absences should be discounted in the event that attendance is used in the redundancy selection process.In that regard, it is always necessary to follow a reasonable procedure and consult with employees about any redundancy proposals. Failure to do so, even when consultation seems futile, is likely to result in claims of unfair dismissal.

Childcare
It remains the case that parents are legal entitled to time off to care for a dependent in an emergency. Ordinarily, this would be limited to the time necessary to make alternative childcare arrangements, but this would no longer be possible in many cases. There are increasing numbers of children been sent home from school and advised to self-isolate for 10/ 14 days. These children cannot be sent to childminders or other households so I believe that, if they are not able to work from home, the parents of these children will be entitled to rely on this statutory entitlement to take time off work to care for their children. This time is unpaid.

If you have any queries or require any further advice or assistance, I'd highly recommend contacting Amanda directly by visiting her website: Pillinger and Associates or connect with her on Facebook 


Steve Richardson
Gaffer of My Local Services
My Local Services | Me on LinkedIn
Comments

Really useful info for people here but  a lot of unpaid situations there, what a nightmare! As so much of it is totally out of your control. 


very informative, thank you.


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