As more and more people are contacted through the NHS COVID-19 app, employers should think about how to respond in case their employees receive alerts. Employers need to think ahead of time about how to respond to those surveyed by the NHS COVID-19 app. It may be helpful to create a policy to deal with this situation and to keep an eye on the policy depending on whether or not the government changes the guidelines. In order to help workers comply with self-isolation guidelines, it makes sense for employers to allow them to work from home during self-isolation. However, if they cannot work from home, the employer`s next consideration is whether it is reasonable to force them to come to work or, if not, whether they will be paid as usual or switch to statutory sickness benefit (SSP). Companies and employees are advised to follow the app`s instructions, even if they are not legally binding The government has clarified that self-isolation following a “ping” by the NHS COVID-19 app is not a legal requirement, but nearly six in ten Britons (59%) think so. Only a quarter of respondents (25%) correctly acknowledged that NHS app pings are not legally binding. While many are clearly unsure about ping rules, a YouGov study earlier this week found that many users disable or delete the app altogether, presumably to avoid “ping” and subsequent self-isolation. How widespread is social stigma? The rules around the app contrast with those of the NHS Test and Trace contract tracking system, where a person is required by law to self-isolate when contacted. Almost eight in ten people (79%) correctly described this as a legal obligation, but 7% of respondents think this is not the case.

Podcast: Can an employer legally require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine? There seems to be as much confusion about self-isolation rules now as there was a year or more when we struggled with what we should or shouldn`t do during the pandemic. It is important to note that the requirement to self-isolate varies depending on whether you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace or `pinged` by the NHS COVID-19 app. In this warning, our partner Emma Bartlett discusses what employers need to consider when deciding how to treat employees who inform them that they have been “pinged” by the NHS COVID-19 app. If it is better for the employee not to go to work, but the employee cannot work from home, the next question is how to pay the employee. If they are not sick, but are self-isolating, they are eligible for the HSP. The Department for Work and Pensions clarified that the SSP will be paid even if an employee self-isolates under the direction of the NHS Test and Trace or because they have been questioned by the COVID-19 app, including for the first three days, known as “waiting days” when the SSP is not normally payable. If the employee has COVID-19, the “waiting day” deadline is also omitted. If they are sick but not have COVID-19, “waiting days” continue to apply.

However, the employee may be concerned about their sick leave report and does not want the isolation period credited. The employer must determine how to respond. It seems reasonable that if the employee is not ill, although entitled to PHS, his absence due to illness is not affected if he isolates himself after “pinging”. Employers should not ask employees to work in this situation in violation of their legal obligations. However, when employees are `interviewed` by the NHS COVID-19 app, there is currently no legal requirement to self-isolate; The guidelines state that people are advised to self-isolate. The government`s message yesterday (July 20, 2021) was that it is crucial that these individuals self-isolate, but it has not yet taken steps to make it mandatory and, in the circumstances, they can exercise their discretion. We do not know of any method of obtaining – legally – without consent, the location of a cell phone. We also cannot see that the sale or possession of cell phone location information is compliant unless the customer has consented to the disclosure of such information. While the government last week announced a list of critical sectors where workers who are fully vaccinated and have received their last vaccine in the past 14 days can be exempted from self-isolation after being interviewed, it is important that the majority of employers are aware of the legal obligations associated with self-isolation. It is important to note that there is a difference in the legal obligation for individuals when they are asked by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate or when questioned by the app.

Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are currently self-isolating after Health Minister Sajid Javid tested positive for coronavirus. The couple is required by law to self-isolate as they have been contacted by the official screening and tracing service. People tend to criticize those who keep the app but ignore it. Almost six in ten people (58%) would think worse of someone who has been `pinged` by the NHS COVID app but has chosen not to self-isolate, compared with 28% who would think no differently from them. In comments likely to spark more public concern about using the app, Scully told Times Radio: “It`s important to understand the rules. You must legally self-isolate if you. An employer asking an employee to go to work after being “pinged” by the NHS COVID-19 app can still find a disgruntled employee to report the issue to the regulator or HSE, but the legal requirement that may be at issue here is not the requirement to self-isolate. Rather, it will be whether the employer is failing to meet their health and safety obligations or is likely to do so in relation to health and safety and welfare advice and/or create a safe working environment. Since the employee could also fall into a category of whistleblowers, especially if they first raised these concerns with the employer, it is even more important for the employer to consider how “reasonable” it will be to hire an employee to work in this situation. Without first consulting the workforce in any way or conducting a risk assessment, the employer cannot be certain that their application meets its health and safety obligations or is even “adequate”.

If you have any questions about employer responses to employees surveyed by the COVID-19 app, or any other questions about COVID-19 issues, please contact our partner Emma Bartlett, who specializes in employment and partnership issues for multinational employers, senior executives, partnerships and partners. If an NHS Test and Trace employee is contacted and asked to self-isolate, they are required by law to do so during the declared period (usually 10 days). If they fail to comply, they can be fined at least £1,000. *We are not lawyers, we are certainly not your lawyer. Nothing here or in related articles on this topic should be construed as legal advice or commentary on how others do business. In recent weeks, the number of people surveyed by the NHS COVID-19 app has increased significantly as a result of the easing of restrictions. In the space of a week in July, 600,000 people in England and Wales were alerted by the app, disrupting many businesses who raised concerns about staff shortages and reduced services, particularly in the transport and retail sectors, which are already significantly affected. But he said there was a different legal basis for the app, which he said should allow you to make informed decisions.

He added: “And I think by withdrawing from a lot of things, we`re encouraging people to really take charge of the data so they can make decisions about what`s best for them, whether they`re employers or employees.” Government officials and privacy advocates agree that there is no legal way to obtain cell phone location information without the customer`s permission, and that the source is that this information comes from the carriers themselves. If an employee believes that the employer is improperly asking them to report to work after informing them that they have been questioned by the COVID-19 app, the employer risks violating the implied trust condition. An employee who feels compelled to terminate his or her employment or who is dismissed for refusing to report to work after being “probed” may file a complaint for constructive dismissal or wrongful dismissal. Employees are required to follow their employer`s reasonable instructions, and it is important for employers to consider the extent to which it is “appropriate” for them to require an employee who has been interviewed to participate in the work. Number 10 said employers should not encourage workers to ignore isolation warnings, even if the app`s instructions are not legally enforceable, unlike contact with NHS Test and Trace, which is required by law. Employees are required to follow their employer`s reasonable instructions. Before an employer asks an employee to report to work if they have been “pinged”, they should conduct a risk assessment in accordance with their health and safety obligations to assess whether there is an increased risk of transmission of this infectious virus and what steps the employer can take to mitigate that risk. For example, if it is necessary for the employee to go to work, can they be isolated from their colleagues in the workplace or could the employer increase the use of PPE and ensure that social distancing is maintained during this 10-day period? In particular, can vulnerable employees be kept separate from employees? An employer`s health and safety duties extend to advising their workforce and, at this point, it`s important to understand how colleagues feel when working with someone who has been `pinged` by the NHS COVID-19 app.