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What to do about employees who test positive…

Published On: March 23rd, 2022By

Individuals are no longer legally required to self-isolate if they test positive for Covid-19 – can you require them to stay away from work?

It’s undoubtedly a tricky decision. On the one hand, you have an obligation to provide a safe working environment for all employees (particularly those who are clinically vulnerable). On the other there’s no legal requirement for those testing positive to remain at home – and if they’re feeling well enough to work should you even encourage that? How are you dealing with it – take our quick survey!

Usual precautions – obviously, your usual health and safety obligations apply, especially considering those in your business who may be more vulnerable if they catch Covid-19. If someone is asymptomatic they may not know they’re positive, so having continued communication, support and safety measures in place should reassure everyone that you’re managing risks.

Update risks assessments – don’t forget to update your health and safety risk assessment as the Covid-19 risks change. An up to date assessment with well-communicated actions should reassure employees that you’re taking continued wellbeing seriously.

Enforcing isolation – if you’re going to insist that those testing positive remain at home, be sure to check their employment contracts to identify whether the leave should be paid. Continuing to provide full pay during any enforced leave will minimise potential claims for unlawful deduction from wages. There’s also a chance, with or without paid leave, they could claim you’re in breach of contract if they’re ready, willing and able to work but you’re not allowing them to do so.

Evidently, managing Covid-19 risks continues to be a challenge for employers – get in touch if you need our advice. How are you dealing with employees testing positive? Take our quick survey!


This update is accurate on the date it was published (23 March 2022), 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.