FAQs

What you can and can’t do

Frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak have been updated. This guidance applies in England.

If someone has one or more of these specific symptoms they should not be in work. If they are already in work when symptoms develop, you should send them home. At this point, it is advised that they get a coronavirus test.

Other than to get the test done, if not using a home test kit, the symptomatic person should not leave the home until the results of the test are known.

Your employee will need to go to www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/ and pre book an appointment at a test centre. They can also order a home kit if they cannot get to a test site.

Once the employee has ordered the test, they’ll be asked by NHS Test and Trace to provide details of anyone who they have been in close recent contact with.

A close ‘contact’ is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 anytime from 2 days before the person was symptomatic up to 10 days from onset of symptoms (this is when they’re infectious to others). 

The contact tracers will not consider the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) as a mitigation when assessing whether a recent contact is likely to have risked transmitting the virus. Only full medical-grade PPE worn in health and care settings will be considered.

If other employees: 

  • have face-to-face contact with someone less than 1 metre away (this will include times where you have worn a face covering or a face mask)
  • spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone
  • travelling in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey) or close to them on a plane

then they will need to self isolate – this will be advised by the NHS Test and Trace system or Public Health professional.

When someone first develops symptoms and orders a test, they will be encouraged to alert the people that they have had close contact with in the 48 hours before symptom onset. If any of those close contacts are co-workers, the person who has developed symptoms should consider asking their employer to alert those co-workers.

Close contacts at this stage do not need to self-isolate unless requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace or a public health professional, but they should:

  • avoid contact with people at high increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus, such as people with pre-existing medical conditions
  • take extra care in practising social distancing and good hygiene
  • watch out for symptoms and self-isolate if they also show signs of coronavirus

Employers may need to keep staff informed about COVID-19 cases among their colleagues. However, employers should not name the individual. If a co-worker is at risk because of close contact with the positive case, then they will be notified to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Employers should make sure their workplaces are safe by regular cleaning and by encouraging good hygiene practice.

If you think the employee meets the definition of ‘close contact’, you can ask staff to self isolate. You can seek advice from Public Health in doing so.

If the test is negative then they, their household and support bubble no longer need to self-isolate.

If the test is positive, it means coronavirus is confirmed.

They must now stay at home for at least 10 days from when the symptoms started.

Anyone who lives in the same household, and anyone in the household’s support bubble, must self-isolate for 14 days from when you started self-isolating.

If you have one or more of these specific symptoms you should not be at work. If they are already in work when symptoms develop, you should go home. At this point, it is advised that you get a coronavirus test.

Other than to get the test done, if not using a home test kit, you should not leave the home until the results of the test are known.

Yes. The person with symptoms and everyone who lives in that household must self-isolate at home until the results of the test are known.

A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) and your household. Anyone in your support bubble must also self-isolate until the results of the test is known.

When someone first develops symptoms and orders a test, they will be encouraged to alert the people that they have had close contact with in the 48 hours before symptom onset. If any of those close contacts are co-workers, the person who has developed symptoms should consider asking their employer to alert those co-workers.

A close ‘contact’ is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 anytime from 2 days before the person was symptomatic up to 10 days from onset of symptoms (this is when they’re infectious to others).

Your employer may inform you that there has been a confirmed case of coronavirus at your place of work. NHS Test and Trace will contact you if you have been in ‘close contact’ with the person who has tested positive.

NHS Test and Trace will contact you if you are considered to have been in ‘close contact’ with person who has tested positive for coronavirus and give you the details and dates that you should be self-isolating for.

If your employer thinks that you meet the definition of ‘close contact’, they can ask you to self isolate.

No. Anyone else living in the same house, as well as your support bubble, do not need to self-isolate unless anyone in the household or support bubble starts showing one or more symptoms of coronavirus. If this is the case, that person should get a coronavirus test and everyone in the household and support bubble should self-isolate at home immediately until the results of the test is known.

The government will pay the wages of employees unable to work due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

It will pay 80% of salary for staff who are kept on by their employer, covering wages of up to £2,500 a month.

It is understood that the wage subsidy will apply to firms where bosses have already had to lay off workers due to the Coronavirus, as long as they are brought back into the workforce and instead granted a leave of absence.

The wages cover, which relates to gross pay will last until the end of October.

You can only claim for furloughed employees that were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and which were notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020.

Employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for the employer after that and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if the employer re-employs them and puts them on furlough.

From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours; employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.

HMRC have produced this step by step guidance on how to make a claim. There is also a calculator to help you work out your claim. The system can process up to 450,000 applications per hour and employers should receive the money within 6 working days of making an application. 

You can access the service here 

Once you are on furlough you will not be able to work for your employer. You can undertake training or volunteer subject to public health guidance, as long as you’re not:

  • making money for your employer or a company linked or associated to your employer
  • providing services to your employer or a company linked or associated to your employer

If workers are required to, for example, complete training courses whilst they are furloughed, then they must be paid at least their appropriate minimum wage (NLW, NMW or AMW) for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised.

Whilst furloughed your employer cannot ask you to do work for another linked or associated company.

If your contract allows, you may undertake other employment while your current employer has placed you on furlough, and this will not affect the grant that they can claim under the scheme. You will need to be able to return to work for the employer that has placed you on furlough if they decide to stop furloughing you, and you must be able to undertake any training they require while on furlough. If you take on new employment, you should make sure you complete the starter checklist form with your new employer correctly. If you are furloughed from another employment, you should complete Statement C. Any activities undertaken while on furlough must be in line with the latest Public Health guidance during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Your employer can still make you redundant while you’re on furlough or afterwards.

Your rights as an employee are not affected by being on furlough, including redundancy rights

If your employer chooses to place you on furlough, you will need to remain on furlough for a minimum of 3 consecutive weeks. However, your employer can place you on furlough more than once, and one period can follow straight after an existing furlough period, while the scheme is open. The scheme is open until the end of March 2021.

The planning laws have been relaxed for the duration of the this pandemic & any premises that wishes to change to a takeaway then there will be no enforcement.

You can find out more on the Government website here.

Food Hygiene will be taken from the Food Safety and Standards team's last visit to businesses and the hygiene number will remain BUT businesses cannot change premises (e.g. moving the cooking to home), it must be the same premises the inspection was taken.

Check with your insurance company for advice around delivery for Car (delivery) & liability insurance.

For further guidance on which businesses are to close as part of further social distancing measures please visit the government's website here

To support businesses that remain open during this period in England, the government has published additional guidance to assist employers, businesses and their staff in staying open safely during coronavirus (COVID-19). For specific settings please refer to sector specific guidance. Guidance has been published for:

These guidelines are not intended to be comprehensive or to represent every business situation, but are illustrative examples. Businesses should also look at the advice being published by trade associations and similar groups on how to apply government guidance in their sector. Read the general guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus

Keep up to date with the latest news and advice by visiting our web page and sign up to receive our e-newsletter here.

Last updated: 17 June 2021, 12:23