New Coronavirus Responsibilities for Employers
Regulations came into force this week that impose new obligations on Employers in England to help enforce the Coronavirus self-isolation scheme.
Regulation 7 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 is the most important to Employers.
The key points are:
- If an Employee fails to notify their Employer that they are self-isolating then they are committing an offence.
- If the Employer is aware that an Employee is required to self-isolate but allows or requires the Employee to attend work, then the Employer is committing an offence. Employer’s should consider working from home as the alternative.
- Individual Company Directors and Managers can also commit an offence under the new Regulations if there is a breach of Regulation 7 by the Employer which is found to have been committed through their negligence or with their consent
- The new Regulations are enforced by a fixed penalty regime under which the guilty party (Employee, Company, Director) is fined £1,000 for a first offence up to £10,000 from the 4th offence onwards.
- There is no requirement that the Employer’s awareness of the requirement to self-isolate should have come direct from the worker in question via Regulation 8. An indication from a colleague or family member would also usually suffice.
The Employer is not responsible for the worker’s breach of the self-isolation rules unless he is out and about for a purpose related to his Employment. We therefore recommend that if an Employee has to self-isolate, then Employers should notify both the Employee and Manager in writing that they are not allowed to leave their home for work purposes.