Coronavirus Self-isolation FAQs
Any individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus) must self-isolate
for at least 10 days from when their symptoms started. Full guidance can be
From 28 September, individuals could be fined if they do not stay at home
and self-isolate following a positive test result for COVID-19 or if they
are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate. The
fines for those who break the self-isolation rules start at £1,000 and the
fine can be up to £10,000 for repeat offences. Employers can also face
fines of up to £10,000 if they prevent staff from self-isolating.
On 20 September, the government confirmed a Test and Trace support payment
scheme which pays £500 to both employed and self-employed people on low
incomes, who are required to self-isolate from 28 September. This support
payment scheme is designed so that those on low income can self-isolate
without breaking the rules and working away from home. The scheme will only
support people who are asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
Do employers have to pay staff who are self-isolating?
Provided they meet the qualifying conditions, employees should receive
statutory sick pay (SSP) if they:
· Are self-isolating because they have tested positive for COVID-19;
· Are waiting for test results because they are suspected of having
· Have COVID-19 symptoms;
· Live with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms;
· Have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by Public Health
· Have been advised to stay at home for a period of 14 days after being
admitted to hospital for the purpose of undergoing a surgical or other
In these circumstances, the first three ‘waiting days’ do not apply and SSP
is payable from the first day of absence. If employees can work from home
whilst they are self-isolating, they should receive their normal pay.
What are the penalties that employers could face for preventing
employees from self-isolating?
If reported, an employer could face fines of up to £10,000 if they prevent
staff from self-isolating by, for instance, insisting staff attend the
workplace or threatening self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do
not come to work.
Can an employer instruct an employee who may be at risk of having
contracted coronavirus not to come to work?
Employers are under a duty to ensure the health and safety of all their
employees and to provide a safe workplace. It follows, therefore, that an
employer should instruct an employee with the coronavirus symptoms, or who
shares a household with someone with symptoms, not to attend work and to
follow the current government guidance on self-isolation.
Do employees have to tell their employers if they have had a positive
coronavirus test result?
Yes. Employees should follow their employer’s normal sickness absence
reporting procedures and explain why they are not in work on the first day
of absence and continue to keep the employer updated. Employees will not be
able to visit their GP to obtain a fit note, but employers can ask to see a
copy of their test results.
Are employers required to close their workplace if they identify a risk
of contact with coronavirus?
Employers are not required to close their workplace if someone suspected to
have coronavirus (COVID-19) is at/has been to the workplace. The government
and the Health and Safety Executive provide guidance on cleaning which
employers should follow if an employee or visitor has coronavirus symptoms
or has tested positive for coronavirus:
If an employee has coronavirus symptoms while at work, the employer should
advise them to go home immediately and follow the government guidance on
testing and self-isolation.