As the country continues the battle against Coronavirus, the government has recently announced a number of new measures to help slow its spread.
One of many has been emphasising the importance of the NHS’s Test and Trace service. This:
- Provides testing for anyone who has symptoms of Coronavirus
- Gets in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they’ve had
- Alerts those contacts, where necessary, and notifies them that they need to self-isolate
Updated guidance has also been released explaining how employers and businesses can play their part in the NHS Test and Trace service to protect the system and save lives.
Please note that this guidance is for England only.
NHS Test and Track in the workplace
The law requires that employers take steps to keep workers and visitors safe. The Government states that by following the five steps for working safely, along with sector-specific guidance, employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff tests positive for COVID-19.
The NHS Test and Trace service does not change existing guidance that employees should work from home wherever possible.
Employers are required to:
- Make their workplaces as safe as possible (where working from home is not possible)
- Request that workers self-isolate if they’ve been asked to do so
- Support their workers when in isolation
Employers cannot stop employees from self-isolating if they have to, even if they can’t work from home. Doing so if punishable with a fine.
The NHS Test and Trace service:
- Provides free testing for anyone who has symptoms of Coronavirus
- Asks those that test positive and their close contacts to self-isolate to stop the spread of the virus in the workplace
The Government states employers (and the self-employed) must continue to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees. They also have similar obligations in respect of other people, for example agency workers, contractors, volunteers, customers, suppliers and other visitors.
If you’re a low-income worker who cannot work from home, you may be eligible for a £500 payment to help cover your costs while self-isolating. For full guidance please head to the gov.uk website or get in touch with PKB Accountants.
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