July 2, 2022

Volume XII, Number 183

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Living with COVID-19: The End of Restrictions in England

The Prime Minister made a statement earlier this week in the House of Commons on the government's strategy for living with COVID-19 in England. The devolved administrations will take forward their own plans.

A brief summary of the main changes

From 21 February

  • Guidance for staff and students in most education and childcare settings to undertake twice weekly
    asymptomatic testing was removed.

From 24 February

  • Individuals will not be legally required to self-isolate if they test positive.

  • Individuals will have no legal obligation to tell their employer when they are required to self-isolate.

  • Individuals who are unvaccinated no longer have to self-isolate after close contact.

  • Fully vaccinated close contacts will not have to test daily for seven days.

  • Self-isolation support payments will be stopped.

  • Routine contact tracing will end.

From 24 March

  • Pre-pandemic Statutory Sick Pay rules apply. Statutory Sick Pay will no longer be payable from day one
    if individuals are unable to work because they are sick or self-isolating due to COVID-19.

  • Individuals will no longer be eligible for Employment and Support Allowance because they are selfisolating
    due to COVID-19.

From 1 April

  • Free universal symptomatic and asymptomatic testing will no longer be available.

  • The requirement for employers to consider COVID-19 in risk assessments will be removed.

  • Removal of guidance on domestic voluntary COVID-19 status certification.

  • There will no longer be a recommendation that venues use the NHS Covid pass.

Will we receive further guidance?

The above are key points for consideration that we have picked out of the current guidance, available here. We
are currently waiting for further guidance to be provided on key issues such as for those working with the
vulnerable, steps that people with COVID-19 should take to minimise contact with others and replacing the
“Working Safely” guidance with new Public Health guidance. We expect further information to be released on 1
April.

How will the “Living with COVID” strategy impact employers?

There are several implications for employers as a result of the latest announcement, particularly due to the
changes on self-isolation and testing. The lack of guidance following the staging dates means that it will be
imperative for employers to consider their current position and keep this under review.

What can employers do now?

Employers should consider how they will manage the issues that arise from the removal of restrictions. For
example:

  • Do existing policies need to be updated to reflect the latest guidance?

  • Will you permit employees back to work who test positive?

  • Will you require employees to come back to work if they test positive?

  • Have you assessed the risks with regard to clinically vulnerable members of the team or those who live with individuals who are clinically vulnerable?

  • Are you going to continue to process health and vaccination status?

  • Can you still process health and vaccination status lawfully?

    © 2022 Vedder PriceNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 60
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    About this Author

    Daniel Stander Labor & Employment Attorney Vedder Price London, UK
    Associate

    Daniel Stander is an Associate at Vedder Price and a member of the firm’s Labor and Employment group in the London office.

    Mr. Stander has experience in dealing with non-contentious and contentious matters for both employers and senior executives. In particular, he has experience in the following areas: day to day UK and international employment and multi-jurisdictional HR issues including unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing claims, and advising on, preparing and negotiating settlement agreements. Mr. Stander has a particular interest in mental health issues and...

    44 (0)20-3667-2861
    Jonathan Maude Labor and Employment Law Attorney Vedder Price Law Firm
    Partner

    Jonathan Maude is a Partner at Vedder Price and a member of the Labor and Employment group in the firm’s London office.

    Mr. Maude is an experienced and well-respected practitioner working in labor and employment law. He regularly advises across the full spectrum of employment law-related issues in the contentious and noncontentious spheres with a particular emphasis on advising corporate clients on complex strategic human resource-related matters.

    Jonathan Maude's practice can be broadly broken down into the two areas...

    +44 (0)20 3667 2860
    Associate

    Rachel Easton is an Associate in Vedder Price’s London office and a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment group.

    Ms. Easton focuses her practice on advising employers on key areas such as disciplinary processes, grievances, redundancies and sickness absences. She also provides advice to clients on various “without prejudice” conversations, drafting settlement agreements, advising on post-employment notice pay (PENP), and other employment policies. Ms. Easton has assisted on a number of acquisitions by highlighting employment issues, reviewing and drafting legal due diligence...

    44 (0) 20 3667 2923
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