Should staff who have been near places where COVID-19 has been detected attend work in the office?
If they have symptoms of COVID-19, yes. If they have no symptoms, it’s up to you depending on where they have actually been.
The UK Government’s current advice is that individuals returning from specific areas (full details can be found here) should stay indoors and avoid contact with other people even if they do not have symptoms. The decision to require employees to work from home is easier to make if they can work remotely. However, if they need to be on site (such as a nurse or teacher) then it is likely they will need to be asked to work from home to the extent possible, although their ability to perform their role is much reduced.
If they are not ill, it is likely you will still need to pay them full pay. If they are ill or become ill whilst at home, they move to the usual process you have for sick pay.
If they are receiving SSP, don’t forget that on 4 March 2020 the UK Government said that it would introduce measures so that SSP would kick in from day 1 of absence if their illness is Covid-19, rather than day 4 as with other illnesses.
We have produced a more detailed employer’s guide on the legal issues that Covid-19 creates which you can find here.
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If your business needs legal support with any issues arising from COVID-19, please get in touch with Millie Kempley.
All information in this document is accurate at the time of writing. It is meant for general information only and is not legal advice.