Two years since self-isolation rules were first introduced to stem the spread of the Covid-19, the government has announced that the legal requirement for people who test positive for Covid to self-isolate will end on 24th March – and potentially a month sooner if cases continue to fall in England. Here we look at nearing the end of self-isolation – what does this mean for employers?
After battling through 24 tumultuous months in response to the pandemic and regulations imposed by the government, what does this next step mean for businesses – and how can business leaders support anxious employees as we adjust to the new normal?
Self-isolation workplace policies
All employers have a duty of care to their staff, and although the legal requirement for Covid positive people to isolate is ending, many businesses may choose to develop and implement a new policy regarding what happens when a member of staff tests positive.
Some companies have already chosen to continue with temperature checks, social distancing and mask-wearing to create a safe working environment for their employees, and to prevent the virus from spreading amongst its workforce. Employers could choose to implement a policy that sees anyone who has tested positive to work from home until they receive a negative lateral flow result, and encourage anyone with symptoms to test at home before attending the office.
It is worth considering that this approach may require the redistribution of tasks while employees are recovering away from the office.
Encourage feedback from your employees
Many employees may feel anxious about the easing of restrictions, particularly if they or someone they live with is classed as a vulnerable or high-risk person. Managers should be encouraged to have conversations within their teams to discuss concerns and any adjustments that could be made where possible to ensure that the workplace is accessible and welcoming to everyone.
For employees who are particularly anxious about the lifting of restrictions, HR professionals could choose to create a phased return to work plan and ensure that regular wellbeing check-ins have been scheduled in advance to discuss any concerns that may arise on the transition back to the office.
Statutory sick pay and Covid-19
Although no formal announcement has yet been made, it is possible that the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme arrangement for Covid-related absences, which allows employers to claim back employee Statutory Sick Pay related to COVID-19, may also expire. According to legal reports, this could mean for example, no more SSP for asymptomatic workers and an end to employees receiving SSP on day one of their illness. It is worth bearing this in mind when considering adopting a new Covid-19 workplace policy.
To discuss how hr inspire can support you with your Covid-19 related workplace policies, please contact our team of HR experts.