What is it all about?
Self-isolation is about protecting others and stopping the spread of COVID-19, the Coronavirus by staying at home and not interacting with others. According to recent guidance, self-isolation is the most effective way of preventing the virus from spreading.
Sarah Hall, Partner in the Employment Team at Hay & Kilner, covers how employers can handle this important situation.
Who needs to self-isolate?
(For full and up to date details, see government guidance)
What if an employee refuses to self-isolate?
If there is an identified risk that an employee should self-isolate then, in light of an employer’s duty to protect the health and safety of other employees, an employer may wish to keep that employee away from the workplace until the risk has passed.
The employer should first of all consider whether it has a contractual right to require the employee to stay at home. However, even if there is no such right, it is unlikely to be a breach of contract to require an employee to stay at home in these circumstances. It is essential however that there are reasonable and non-discriminatory grounds for concern and that the matter is dealt with appropriately and sensitively.
Employers will of course wish to consider whether working from home is an option for the employee (unless they are too ill to work).
Is there a right to pay?
Again consideration would need to be given to the terms of the employment contract. However, assuming there is no contractual right to pay:
What else should you do?
Acas also recommends that employers should:
We can help
If you need any assistance dealing with the impact of self-isolation in the workplace, please contact Sarah Hall, or call 0191 232 8345.
Read the latest update here.