As you will know, in December the Government’s public health advice reduced the self-isolation period for those with symptoms of Covid-19 who have tested positive or live in a household with someone who has tested positive from 14 days down to 10 days.

On Christmas Eve, an amended Sick Pay Regulation came into force to reflect that change and ensure that individuals who are self-isolating for these purposes will be eligible for SSP for the full period for which they are required to self-isolate.

Since the public health advice provided that the 10 day isolation period would begin on the day after symptoms start or if asymptomatic on the day of the test, the Regulation has been amended to provide that anyone who is symptomatic or tests positive, as well as their household contacts, will be deemed incapable for work if they self-isolate for 11 days (so including the day the symptoms start or the day on which they are tested and the subsequent 10 full days of isolation).

Schedule 1 has now also been amended to provide that where a person has received notification either orally or in writing, either in person or by telephone, that they have tested positive for Covid-19, they and their household contacts are eligible for SSP for the period set out in that notification.

If the notification does not specify a period of isolation then they are deemed to be incapable of work for 11 days beginning with the day on which they first developed symptoms, or if earlier, the day on which they took the test that returned the positive result.

Thus, when processing sick pay, employers are going to need to ask employees for information about when they became symptomatic or took their test, including understanding if this was on a weekend.

Refreshing Law Ltd

11 January 2021