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The NHS test and trace service forms a central part of the government’s coronavirus recovery strategy, which seeks to help the nation return to normal as soon as possible for as many people as possible, in a way that is safe and protects the NHS and social care sector.

It’s vital that employers and businesses can play their part in the NHS test and trace programme to slow the spread of the virus, protect the health and care system and save lives.

Guidance For Employers

It is vital that employers play their part by making the workplace as safe as possible, encouraging workers to heed any notifications to self-isolate, and support them when in isolation.

Although disruptive for business, it is less disruptive than a second wave of coronavirus.

The NHS test and trace service is designed to support businesses and economic recovery by:

  • providing testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus
  • helping to stop the onward spread of the virus in the workplace and wider society
  • enabling the government to go further in safely easing or lifting lockdown measures

The flowchart below explains how Test and Trace works:

NHS Test and Trace

It is important that employers continue to protect the health and safety of their workers and others who may be affected by their business, such as agency workers, contractors, volunteers, customers, suppliers and visitors.

To help, guidance has been developed on the 5 steps for working safely, along with sector-specific guidance.

Employers must continue to follow workplace guidance where possible, this includes:

  • making every reasonable effort to enable working from home
  • where working from home isn’t possible, identifying sensible measures to control workplace risks
  • keeping the workplace clean, maintaining safe working separation, and preventing transmission through unnecessary touching of potentially contaminated surfaces

Multiple Outbreaks In The Workplace

If there is more than one case of coronavirus associated with a workplace, employers must contact their local health protection team to report the outbreak.

Find your local health protection team.

The health protection team will:

  • undertake a risk assessment
  • provide public health advice
  • where necessary, establish a multi-agency incident management team to manage the outbreak

Supporting Workers Who Need To Self-Isolate

Employers should support workers who need to self-isolate, they must not attend the workplace.

Workers will be told to self isolate because they:

  • have coronavirus symptoms and are awaiting a test result
  • have tested positive for coronavirus
  • are a member of the same household as someone who has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus
  • have been in close recent contact with someone who has tested positive and received a notification to self-isolate from NHS test and trace.

Employers should allow people to work from home if they remain well and if it is practicable to do so. This can include alternative work that could be completed at home during the period of self-isolation.

Employees in self-isolation are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay for every day they are in isolation, as long as they meet the eligibility conditions.  An employee can ask to take their paid holiday for the time they’re self-isolating, entitling them to full pay for the duration of their leave, as opposed to Statutory Sick Pay.

The NHS test and trace service will provide a notification that can be used as evidence that someone has been told to self-isolate.

For more information visit the NHS test and trace: workplace guidance web page