Changes to self-isolation

People who receive negative LFD results on day six and day seven of their self-isolation period – with tests taken 24 hours apart – you can stop quarantining and reduce the self-isolation period from 10 to seven days. The first test must be taken no earlier than day six of the self-isolation period.

If your test is positive on day six or seven, then you will have to continue to keep testing. If you get consecutive negative tests on days eight and nine, then you can leave on day nine. Full guidance here.

People who leave self-isolation on day seven are strongly advised to limit close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces and to continue working from home if they can.

We have had a number of questions since this was announced and we’d like to address:

  • Work from home order – Plan B – still applies so if you can’t work from home i.e. work in production, supermarket etc. then you are ‘exempt’.
  • Changes to self-isolation – work from home if you can or limit contact after day seven – if you can’t work from home as per the above point then you can go back to work.

There are still requirements for face masks, safer working guidance, good Covid practice. All we are asking people when released from self-isolation via the above policy is to exercise a bit of caution for a few days. This has been a clinical decision based on accuracy of LFDs, vaccination and booster rates, plus managed risk.

This change will help with absence rates and uncertainty that has been highlighted by the business community and representations made to government. Whether it is an engineer who is able to get back to work to keep food production lines going, security guards for critical national infrastructure, or our frontline and critical workers to keep the shelves stacked – this will allow more certainty in this difficult time.

PLEASE NOTE: Unvaccinated adults who have come into contact with someone infected with coronavirus must still self-isolate until 10 days after their estimated date of exposure to the virus.

Changes in sick note absences until the end of January 2022

For any sickness absences which began on or after 10 December 2021, up to and including 26 January 2022, employees will not be required to provide medical evidence of sickness, such as a fit note, for the first 28 days of absence. This is intended as a temporary measure to quickly maximise GP capacity to support the coronavirus booster campaign. As such, this is a strictly time-limited change and will end on 26 January 2022.

Throughout the pandemic, we know that many employers have been flexible about what, if any, evidence of sickness absence is required and have considered alternatives to fit notes wherever possible. We appreciate employers’ continued support in this national effort.

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