As of 16th March, the Government’s guideline is for individuals to self isolate if they have a new continuous cough or a high temperature.
People with those symptoms they should stay at home for 7 days. If they live with other people, they should all stay at home for 14 days from the first day the person showed the symptoms.
The Government has already pledged that Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be paid from day one of a Coronavirus related absence, including self isolation. If you normally pay company sick pay, then you do so in these circumstances, the business will be able to claim back the sick pay element from day one.
We advise employers to pass on this information to staff and insist that they don’t come into work if they have those symptoms (the Government has said testing is not required in these circumstances). We recommend that employees are informed that if they do attend work with those symptoms will be sent home and only paid SSP.
In light of the current situation, we feel the non-compliance of the above by an employee would amount to “a failure to comply with a reasonable request” and could lead to disciplinary action.
We also recommend informing employees at an early stage what sick pay they can expect, should they be required to self-isolate. This will help alleviate any anxiety and also encourage people to take the recommended steps to avoid further spread of the virus. The current rate of SSP is £94.25 per week.
Businesses should continue to keep themselves informed of the latest advice from the Government and Public Health England.