At midnight on 28 September, The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force.
They set out mandatory self-isolation periods, including 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. A copy of the Regulations can be found here.
The Regulation requires self-isolation where an adult is notified that:
- They have tested positive for COVID-19 following a test after 28 September 2020; or
- They have had close contact after 28 September 2020 with someone who has tested positive.
The Regulation also sets out that where an adult is notified that:
- A child for whom the individual is responsible has tested positive for COVID-19 after 28 September 2020; or
- Where a child for whom the individual is responsible has had close contact after 28 September 2020 with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19;
then the adult must take steps to secure that the child self-isolates.
Government guidance (issued on 30 September) sets out that the notification would be provided by NHS Test and Trace, or the NHS COVID-19 app.
Important to employers is Regulation 7 which makes it an offence for an employer to knowingly permit an employee or agency worker who is required to self-isolate, to attend any place other than where the individual is self-isolating. This means that an employer who knows that their employees should be self-isolating will be responsible for preventing them attending their place of work. If an employer fails to do this, they could receive a fine of at least £1,000.
Under Regulation 8, there is an obligation on the individual who is aware of their requirement to self-isolate, to notify their employer of this requirement and the start and end date of the isolation period. Any individual who breaches self-isolation will, normally, commit a criminal offence.
For further support and advice relating to the impact of COVID-19, please view our COVID-19 Advisory Service page.