With the rules around self-isolation for double-jabbed individuals recently changing in Wales, our team of HR experts have responded to some of your frequently asked questions.
What you do as an employer if double-jabbed employees insist on self-isolating after being in contact with someone with COVID-19?
If the employee has been in close contact with someone who has Coronavirus, they will not need to self-isolate if they do not have any symptoms. However, they should get a PCR test on day 2 and day 8. If the employee does not want to attend work despite this, then the employer could insist that they attend work or agree for them to have holidays or unpaid leave. It will not qualify automatically as sick leave and they will not be entitled to sick pay. If someone in their household has symptoms or has tested positive for Coronavirus and they are fully vaccinated, they should self-isolate and take a PCR test. If they test negative, they can then stop isolating.
If an employee is not fully vaccinated, do they need to self-isolate after being in contact with someone with COVID-19?
If an employee has been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, but do not have symptoms, they will need to self-isolate for 10 days. They should also get a PCR test on day 2 from their last contact with the positive case (or as soon as possible) and on day 8.
Does an employee who is fully vaccinated need to self-isolate if they have symptoms?
Yes, they do. If they have been fully vaccinated and are showing symptoms, they need to self-isolate.
What are the legal risks if an employee is told they must attend work, but they wish to self-isolate, even if they aren’t required to do so by law?
If an employee has come into contact with someone with Coronavirus, but has been double-jabbed and shows no symptoms, it means they do not need to self-isolate. However, in such circumstances, some employees may wish to self-isolate anyway. In these cases, they will not be entitled to sick pay.
You should speak to the employee to find out why they wish to self-isolate. For instance, are they worried about infecting their colleagues or perhaps they have a disability that renders them as being particularly vulnerable? Has the situation caused them childcare difficulties?
Employers should be understanding of their staff in these circumstances and work with them to find solutions. For example, putting extra safety measures in place in the workplace or offering them the chance to work from home if their role can be done in this way. You may also offer them unpaid leave or the chance to take annual leave to cover this period of absence.
Telling an employee to attend work who has reasonable concerns about their own health and safety or the health and safety of others might open you up to claims of constructive dismissal and/or discrimination.
In our experience, these sorts of issues are few and far between and it is unlikely that you will have employees persistently wanting to self-isolate when they don’t have to. However, if it is becoming a problem for your business, please contact your usual employment law adviser who will be able to assist. Our team can also be reached on 02920 853794 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information on self-isolation rules in Wales, please visit: Self-isolation | GOV.WALES