On 31 July 2020, the Government updated its stay at home guidance and extended the minimum self-isolation period for Covid-19. Individuals who test positive for coronavirus or show symptoms in the UK must now self-isolate for at least ten days, rather than seven. To correspond with the new requirements, the Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020 have also been amended.
The main messages from the updated guidance are as follows:
- Those experiencing symptoms, however mild, must self-isolate for at least ten days from when their symptoms start. They should also arrange to have a Covid-19 test but should not go a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
- Those who are not experiencing symptoms, but who have tested positive for Covid-19, must self-isolate for ten days from the day the test was taken. If symptoms develop during this isolation period, they must restart their ten day isolation period from the day the symptoms started.
- Any individual living in the same household as an individual in category 1 or 2 above should also stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. This 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the household becomes ill or, if they do not have symptoms, from the day their test was taken. If anyone else in the household starts displaying symptoms, they must stay at home for at least ten days from when their symptoms started, irrespective of the original 14-day isolation period. This extended 14 day period is to take into account a potential incubation period for the disease.
The SSP regulations have also been amended to reflect the new self-isolation period, in the form of the Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No.5) Regulations 2020, which came into force on 5 August 2020. The new Regulations ensure that a person is entitled to statutory sick pay for the full period in which they are required to self-isolate and for the full period in which they are required to stay at home after testing positive. This includes those isolating as part of a household in accordance with the Guidance.
Employers should take note of this new isolation period as well as the corresponding changes to the SSP Regulations.
For an update on all the legal implications relating to Coronavirus please see here.
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