Lateral flow workplace testing kits are now available for free to all employers in England, irrespective of size. You’re not obliged to carry out workplace tests, but if you’re thinking about using them in your workplace here are a few things to consider:
Can I require employees to be tested – unless you have the contractual right to do so (which is unlikely) you can’t insist that employees use the tests if they don’t have symptoms. If an employee has no justifiable reason for refusing a test, it may be possible for you to treat their actions as a refusal to follow a reasonable instruction enabling you to take disciplinary action, provided that you can show that workplace testing was necessary to protect the health and safety of colleagues. Always take advice before taking this route to avoid potential claims of discrimination or constructive dismissal.
Deadlines – you need to register (here) on the government website by 31 March 2021 to receive the testing kits. They’ll be free until 30 June 2021.
Data protection – before carrying out workplace testing, you need to explain to employees why you’re doing it, what data you’ll be collecting and who you will share this data with. The easiest way to do this is with a workplace testing policy and a data protection impact assessment. Click here for our support.
Practicalities – lateral flow tests don’t require a trained individual to administer and will give an onsite result in 20-30 minutes. They should identify employees who are infected with coronavirus even if they’re not showing symptoms. You can access specific government guidance here.
If you subscribe to Intelligent Employment, we’ve added a comprehensive coronavirus workplace testing guidance note to the document platform (under HR tools). If you don’t currently access Intelligent Employment, get in touch to find out more.
This update is accurate on the date it was sent (11 March 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.