Partner at City of London law firm says increased testing could be vital for employers facing multiple employees self-isolating following contact tracing

A Partner at City of London law firm, Carter Lemon Camerons LLP, has said that that increased levels of Coronavirus testing could be vital for employers who are facing the prospect of having multiple employees self-isolating follow the launch of the Government’s Track and Trace strategy.

Kate Boguslawska commented amid concerns that where one employee within a workplace tests positive for Coronavirus, several others could be required by contact tracers to self-isolate for two weeks.

She said: “The introduction of the new NHS test-and-trace system may be a step towards ending the lockdown. However, it brings with it the risk that multiple employees from the same workplace could be required to self-isolate at the same time.

“Obviously, testing those required to self-isolate could lift the requirement to self-isolate for those who are not infected and would assist employers in overcoming the disruption to their operations.”

One option open to employers whose employees cannot be tested or are still required to self-isolate after testing, according to Kate, is to investigate the feasibility of home working, even if it means an adjustment to an employee’s usual duties.

She added: “Where an employee is required by contact tracers to self-isolate and cannot work from home, the Health Secretary has said that they will be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), while he has advised employers to be flexible.

“SSP in respect of Coronavirus absences can be reclaimed from the Government using its online portal.”