The number of self-isolation alerts sent by the NHS Covid-199 app in England and Wales hit an all-time high of 689,313 in the week up to the 21st July 2021. Here we look at Self-Isolating Employees and Employer Considerations.
The record number represents an increase of over 70,000 alerts compared to the previous week, yet the rate of increase was lower than the previous week, rising by 11% compared to 17%. Concerns have been raised that the slight decline is due to workers deleting the app in retaliation to staff shortages and workplaces being forced to temporarily shut.
The new record-high follows calls for the app to be made less sensitive to avoid causing further widespread disruption, as retail and hospitality venues struggle to keep up with the demand whilst losing workers to self-isolation. Reports now suggest the app will now look for contacts two days prior, rather than five, when someone without symptoms tests positive.
The government recently announced an exemption for some critical workers in key industries – including those working in food distribution – however, it has stressed that this is not a ‘blanket exemption’ and will only apply to named employees in specifically approved workplaces who have had their second vaccine dose at least two weeks ago.
If an employee is contacted by NHS Test and Trace, employers should consider whether the member of staff is able to work from home during this period of isolation. If they cannot work from home, then employers should consider how employees will be paid.
If a worker is isolating because they or someone they live with has symptoms or has tested positive for Covid-19, then they must self-isolate for at least four days to be eligible for SSP. The government’s latest advice for self-isolating employees can be found here. Alternatively, employees may wish to use annual leave during this period – find out more about this here.
From 16th August 2021, all fully vaccinated people will not need to self-isolate if pinged by the app, although they will be encouraged to book a Covid PCR test.
For confidential advice on any HR matters, including Self-Isolating Employees and Employer Considerations, we provide the opportunity for a 15 minute support call with Director Suzanne Hurndall – book straight to calendar below:
With specialist expertise in leadership, change management, strategy, acquisition, workplace culture, transformation and discrimination, Suzanne is passionate people leader motivated by unlocking the potential of people, teams and organisations through teamwork and collaboration.