Return to Work and the Workplace Testing Scheme

As we near 12th April, the registration deadline for the Government’s coronavirus Workplace Testing Scheme, eligible employers should ensure they register their interest this week.

Testing my Team – How and Why?

Lateral flow device (LFD) testing is a “fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but who may still be spreading the virus”. With around 1 in 3 people having COVID-19 with no symptoms, a test that rapidly detects these otherwise hidden cases is a very useful additional tool for tackling the virus and supporting employee safety.

All employers with more than 10 employees based in England, and who cannot work from now will be able to offer employees free, rapid and regular testing which they can do themselves at home.
You must register interest for free lateral flow tests by 12th April if you want to be able to offer employees tests either now or in the future. Find out more about the workplace coronavirus tests at https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests.

COVID Workplace Testing – Things to Consider:

If you wish to test your team, you should ensure it’s something you discuss with your staff, covering topics including:

  • How testing would be carried out
  • How staff would get their test results
  • The process to follow if someone tests positive for coronavirus
  • Pay if someone needs to self-isolate but cannot work from home
  • How someone’s absence would be recorded if they need to take time off work
  • How testing data will be used, stored and deleted, in line with data protection law (UK GDPR)

Any decision after that discussion should be:

  • Formalised in writing, such as via a workplace policy
  • Kept in line with your existing disciplinary and grievance policy

COVID Lockdown – Return to Work Process:

As we begin to ease out of lockdown, your decision around adopting LFD testing should be thought of as just one element of the return to work process. Consider:

  • Are staff communicated and consulted with around their views?
  • Do all team members need to attend the workplace?
  • Is an ongoing Employee Engagement and People Plan in place to ensure staff feel supported?
  • Have sufficient Risk Assessments been carried out and actioned?
  • How will safe working practises be monitored and maintained?

If you’re looking for support on safely and compliantly bringing your team back to the workplace, contact us to discuss your next steps…

 

Useful Sources:

https://www.acas.org.uk/working-safely-coronavirus/testing-staff-for-coronavirus 
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-guidance-for-employers 

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