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Self Isolation COVID19 Guidelines

New Government Covid-19 Self Isolation Guidelines Explained

New legislation is set to change the current government guidelines for Covid 19 self-isolation. From the 16 August 2021 any individual who has been identified as being within close contact of a Covid-19 case may no longer need to self-isolate for the mandatory 10 days.

Under The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 individuals will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if:

  • They are aged 18 or under
  • Or if they have been double vaccinated; and have had their second COVID-19 vaccination at least 14 days prior to coming into contact with a positive COVID-19 case.

If the individual can show they have satisfied the above criteria, they will need to take a PCR test. This will allow any traces of COVID-19 within the individual’s system to be detected. If the result of this test is positive, the individual would be legally obliged to self-isolate. However, if the individual receives a negative test, then there will be no legal duty to self-isolate. 

Advice for Employers

Alike other self-isolation guidelines the duty owed is primarily on the employee. An employer will only commit an offence if they ‘knowingly’ allow someone who is under a legal obligation to self-isolate to attend wok.

Some pieces of criteria above will be easily apparent to employers. For instance, an employer would be aware of whether their employee is under the age of 18. However, it is unlikely employers will know, and have record of, staff who have received their covid vaccinations, due to privacy and data protection concerns.

It is therefore advisory for employers to inform their staff of the change in rules regarding self-isolation and inform staff that by attending work they are confirming they meet all relevant requirements necessary to be exempt from self-isolation. It would also be advisory for employers to inform staff that if they attended work whilst being under a duty to self-isolate it could lead to a disciplinary action.

What if someone is already isolating before 16 August 2021, do they still need to isolate?

A person’s duty to isolate will ultimately be dependent upon the above criteria and their own individual circumstances. For instance, with the new legislation coming into play, if a double jabbed person began isolating before 16 August 2021 with their official end of isolation date being after the 6 August. Providing their PCR test result is negative, their isolation will end on the 16 August at 00:01, regardless of the original end date However, just like the above the person must satisfy the above criteria and obtain a negative PCR result. 

Examples of the rules explained

Toby is 22 years of age and has received a notice to self-isolate on 13 August 2021 for the mandatory 10 days, meaning his self-isolation will end at midnight on 22 August 2021. Toby has received both of his covid vaccinations, with his second dose being administered on 8 May 2021. His legal duty to self-isolate will end at 00:01 16 August if he is able to obtain a negative PCR result. 

Bryony Toby’s friend is 17 years of age and has also received a notice to self-isolate on the 13 August 2021. Her self-isolation is due to end on at midnight on 22 August 2021. She has had no vaccinations. As she is under the age of 18, if she can obtain a negative PCR result her isolation period will end on 16 August at 00:01.

Mable has also received a notice to self-isolate on 13 August 2021, thus meaning her self-isolation period will end at 00:01 on 22 August. She is 44 years old and is still waiting to receive her second vaccination. Due to her not being fully vaccinated, regardless of whether she obtains a negative PCR test result, Mable’s isolation period will still end on 22 August.

For any further information please visit GOV website

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and litigation practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide. Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here. 

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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