Law firm Ogletree Deakins has published advice for employers affected by the NHS Test and Trace/Protect programmes in operation in England and Scotland, and the “Test, Trace, Protect programme in place in Wales since Monday 1 June.
UK government guidance makes it clear that employers are expected to enable employees to adhere to self-isolation guidelines if they are identified as being in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. For eligible employees, this includes Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from the first day of the period in which they are required to self-isolate.
Employers that offer more generous contractual sick pay benefits, however, should consider whether they will provide sick pay at the usual contractual rate to those self-isolating.
Employers that were registered for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) on or before 28 February 2020, and who had fewer than 250 PAYE employees at that date, are entitled to reclaim up to two weeks SSP provided to employees under the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme.
Partner at the firm Daniella McGuigan adds that the biggest challenge posed to employers by the new contact tracing schemes may be the prospect of employees being repeatedly told to self-isolate for 14 days following contact with an individual who is diagnosed with COVID-19.
The article also gives advice on GDPR in workplaces affected by these infection control programmes.