As the new 'Test and Trace' systems are rolled out across Scotland and England today, and thousands of contact tracers begin to make the first phone calls to track down people who have been in contact with individuals who have tested positive for Coronavirus, we are looking at what this might this mean from a financial point of view for those who are told to self-isolate, and the implications for their employers.
The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 ensure that any individual who has been told to self-isolate for 14 days under the test and trace system will now be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay while absent from work as a result.
It is envisaged that many affected employees will be unhappy with this position, particularly if they are asked to self-isolate despite showing no symptoms of the virus. SSP is currently paid at a rate of £95 per week, and indeed many individuals will not qualify for this at all.
It is essential that employers do all they can to encourage their staff to comply with the system and self-isolate when asked in order to protect their workforce and the wider public health. As such, employers may wish to consider implementing steps to encourage compliance, which could include permitting the use of annual leave, providing enhanced company sick pay and/or allowing a period of home working if the employee is otherwise well and it is appropriate to the specific roles involved.
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