After the recent article on The BBC, Employment Partner Lowri Phillips, comments:
Following the advice of Health Secretary Matt Hancock that Britons returning from quarantined Italian towns must self-isolate, even if they have no symptoms, employers need to decide now on their approach towards employees who are prevented from coming into work because they are at risk of developing the Coronavirus. An obvious answer is to allow the employee in question to work from home, but this is not always possible or practicable.
There does not appear to be a legal right to sick pay if someone is not sick but cannot work because they have been told by a medical expert to self-isolate. However, unless employers are prepared to treat such absences as sick leave and follow their usual sick pay policy or agree for the time to be taken as holiday there's a risk the employee will come to work because they want to get paid. This could result in employers breaching their health and safety duties which require employers to take all reasonable steps to provide a safe workplace for all employees.
Employers need to be proactive and decide on their policy in such a situation. Should you require advice or assistance on this issue please contact one of our Employment Team.
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