It is being reported that there are an increasing number of people being ‘pinged’ by the NHS COVID-19 App. The terminology ‘pinged’ is referring to when a person is sent an alert by the App.
The App sends anonymous alerts if the user has been in close contact with another app user who has tested positive and will notify them that they should self-isolate, thereby helping to break chains of transmission and keep people safe.
What obligations do employers have if an employee has been ‘pinged’?
If you know that a worker has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, it is your legal duty to not allow them to come into work or work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating (usually, their home) for their full self-isolation period.
Failure to do so could result in your firm facing a fine, starting from £1,000.
If a worker has received a notification to self-isolate via the NHS COVID-19 App, they should not attend the workplace as the individual may be infectious and could spread the virus.
What should employers do if any of their workers test positive?
Employers should call the Self-Isolation Service Hub on 020 3743 6715 as soon as they are made aware that any of their workers have tested positive.
Employers will need to provide the 8-digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID (sometimes referred to as a CTAS number) of the person who tested positive, alongside the names of co-workers identified as close contacts. This will ensure that all workplace contacts are registered with NHS Test and Trace and can receive the necessary public health advice, including the support available to help people to self-isolate.
Commenting on the practicalities as well as the legal requirements, Mark Lello from Parker Bullen says, “Clearly it is very disruptive to any business to have people unable to attend their workplace – especially those businesses that cannot work from home or from any other place than their place of work e.g., the majority of the hospitality and retail sectors. But it is vital that employers take their responsibilities very seriously and comply with their obligations. It is also advisable that employers communicate very clearly to workers what they expect from them to ensure workers are clear on their obligations. It’s quite simple – if you get ‘pinged’ you must self-isolate.”
It appears that we are at another difficult stage as far as the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our lives is concerned. Employers need to ensure they comply with the regulations.
If you would like advice or further information about your obligations as an employer, please do get in touch.