COVID testing

The current situation with Coronavirus testing in the workplace can be tricky for directors and business owners to manage and know what to do in certain situations.

Our FAQs section aims to help you navigate this new area or workforce management and make sure that you do not fall foul of any rules and regulations.


There is no legal duty to self-isolate if you are not showing any symptoms of Coronavirus, and often test results are available the same day or within a limited timeframe.

If an employee is showing the symptoms of Coronavirus they should self-isolate until the results come back form the test.

However, it may be best practice to encourage employees to remain away from work under either scenario until the results have been returned and verified.

The employee(s) must self-isolate by law and remain away from the workplace. In these circumstances, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) becomes payable immediately from day one of their absence. If you pay Company Sick Pay, then the employees' contractual arrangements must be applied.

For any work colleague that has been in contact with employees requiring to self-isolate, they must be advised and also required to undertake a period of self-isolation in line with the Government's rules. Public Health England define a contact as:

· A person that has spent a significant time in the same environment;

· A person with whom there has been face to face contact (within 1 metre) and tested positive;

· A person who has been coughed at, had a face-to-face conversation within one metre, physical skin contact or been in contact for a minute or more without face-to-face contact;

· Spending 15 minutes or more within a 2 metre distance of someone that has tested positive for COVID, or

· A person that has travelled in a small vehicle with a person that that has tested positive or been in a large vehicle or a plane near a person that has tested COVID positive.

An employee must also self-isolate if they have been in contact with another individual that has tested positive for COVID or are advised to self-isolate by the NHS app or Track and Trace Team.

The Government has announced that it is offering COVID testing to more people without symptoms and many local authorities have drop-in test centres in operation.

If an employer wishes to bring in workplace testing this should be agreed with the employees in advance. The employer can obtain Lateral Flow Test kits for this purpose.

ACAS has lots of additional detail on their website.

The current rule is that this person is required to self-isolate if they remain without symptoms. Without symptoms they may not be eligible to be tested and no employer can force an employee to be tested.

Most towns now have a COVID testing centre for those people that do not have symptoms, with priority being given to those employees that cannot work from home. There is also the possibility that you could use a Lateral Flow Test to see if the employee tests positive.

A link to book a PCR test is below:

Any policy or procedure needs to be carefully considered, be fair and consistent and not cause concern or discrimination. You should consider the following areas:

· The type of test you will use;

· How testing will work in the workplace;

· Managing test results and sharing results with employees;

· Sick pay and self-isolation rules;

· Absence management;

· Protection of data and reporting results to government departments.

Yes. Your data protection policies and procedures should be updated to reflect any changes you have made due to the Pandemic.

Yes,you must notify Public Health England and the local authority.

This is an area that will be tested in the Employment Tribunals over the coming weeks and months. Professional advice and guidance should be taken in advance of any action being undertaken.

As above, this is an area that will be tested in the Employment Tribunals over the coming weeks and months. Professional advice and guidance should be taken in advance of any action being undertaken.

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Company Info

HR Smart Ltd  

197 Brighton Rd Lancing West Sussex BN15 8JB United Kingdom

Telephone: 01903 754 107