How can we help?


New fines and criminal records for self-isolating workers and their employers if they attend workplace

Employers will now commit a criminal offence and face fines if they knowingly permit a worker to attend the workplace after they have been told to self-isolate.

Workers who fail to tell their employer they are required to self-isolate will also commit a criminal offence and face fines. So far these new regulations only apply to England and they came into force at midnight on Sunday 28 September Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020.

This requirement to self-isolate applies to anybody who has:

  • Been notified that they have tested positive for COVID-19 or lives with someone who has tested positive;
  • Has been advised by a local authority or public health official they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive; and
  • Fines (so far) will not apply to anybody who fails to self-isolate after they have been informed via the new NHS COVID-19 smartphone app that they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

Workers must notify their employer that they have been told to self-isolate before they next attend the workplace and give their employer the self-isolation start and end dates (Regulation 8). The rules also apply to agency workers who must tell either their employer, their employment agency or their principle. Whoever is informed by the agency worker must pass the information onto the other two parties.

These new Regulations also place a responsibility on employers to prevent workers whom they know must self-isolate from working (unless they can work from home). Many workers will only be entitled to statutory sick pay whilst self-isolating which may encourage some not to tell their employer they have tested positive or received a formal notification. At the time of writing it is not yet clear what measures authorities will be taking, if any, to inform employers of their workers’ positive results.

Workers who fail to tell their employer they are required to self-isolate will also commit a criminal offence and face fines.

As Regulation 7 places criminal liability on employers who ‘knowingly’ allow self-isolating workers to come to work we recommend that businesses take the following steps:

  • Notify in writing all workers that they must inform their line manager and/or HR that they are required to self-isolate and the dates of their self-isolation period. A failure to inform will be considered a disciplinary offence as well as a criminal one.
  • Keep a careful record of the worker’s reported self- isolation records and dates they attend the workplace.
  • Fixed penalty fines for both employers and individuals for breaches of Regulation 7 and Regulation 8 respectively will start at £1,000 for the first fixed fee; £2,000 for the second;  £4,000 for the third and £10,000 for all subsequent breaches.

If you require further advice on any of these issues or a new or updated coronavirus (COVID-19) policy please contact us.

About this article

This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

About this article

Read, listen and watch our latest insights

  • 10 April 2024
  • Employment

New Guidance: Confidence to Recruit

The new Government guide in collaboration with the CIPD aims to give employers the confidence to recruit its workforce from a wider range of people including those who may have been overlooked in the past as a problem rather than an asset.

  • 03 April 2024
  • Employment

FAQ’s on the new Carer’s Leave Act

Beginning on 6 April 2024, the Carer’s Leave Act comes into force, meaning carers are now entitled to request 1 week’s unpaid leave to care for their dependants.

  • 02 April 2024
  • Construction

UK housebuilders investigated over suspected exchanges of anti-competitive information

In 2022 the CMA was called upon by the Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities to conduct a study into the housebuilding sector and provide recommendations on how the sector can operate as efficiently as possible

  • 28 March 2024
  • Corporate and M&A

Legal perspectives on ESG and director duties

In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, the concept of ESG factors has emerged as a guiding framework for companies seeking to thrive in the long term.

  • 27 March 2024
  • Commercial Real Estate

5 key considerations when taking on a lease of a pub property

Taking on a pub property can be both exciting and daunting. Here are 5 key considerations that pub tenants should consider when taking on this new venture.

  • 26 March 2024
  • Employment

Navigating Neuroinclusion: A Guide for Employers

Over the past few years, we have seen a marked rise in awareness of neurodiversity, as well as campaigns for awareness and inclusion in the workplace for neurodiverse employees.