The intricacies of Covid-19 rules, regulations, and restrictions have changed numerous times since the virus became a pandemic in 2020. If you are a business owner or employer, you will likely want to know where things stand now that your staff have more freedom to travel internationally again. In the following post, we are going to discuss the key points from the latest rule changes and developments.
If people who work for you are fully vaccinated and have two doses, they do not need to take any Covid-19 tests before they travel to England from somewhere international or when they arrive back home.
What Does That Mean For You as an Employer?
As an employer, if your staff needs to travel regularly, you need to remember:
- To make sure any employees who do not have a full vaccination understand the Covid tests they need to take after they have travelled internationally.
- To provide a reasonable level of help and support to them with regards to taking these tests.
You are legally obligated to do this when:
- More than 50 people work for you
- Your employees and that includes agency and temp staff, follow the bespoke Covid-19 testing regime.
Ensure Your Employees Understand The Tests They Need to Take
If you do have employees that are not yet fully vaccinated against Covid-19, you need to ensure they understand if they are travelling, even for work, that when they arrive back in England they need to follow the appropriate regime for testing related to their job.
It may be that your employees need clarification when it comes to whether their role qualifies for any exemptions or the bespoke Covid-19 testing programme they should be following. You can point them in the direction of the Government’s own guidance on jobs that qualify individuals for exemptions on travel and testing.
Any employees who have jobs that do not qualify for these exemptions and who do not have their full vaccination will need to take a travel test on arrival. These can only be ordered through a private, third-party provider and not through the Government or NHS.
What Happens When the Test is Positive or Produces an Unclear Result?
You must explain to applicable employees what happens in the following circumstances as part of the testing regime:
When the Result is Positive
There are no longer legal requirements in place for individuals with Covid-19 to self-isolate. That being said, if any of your employees have a positive test result or any of the main Covid-18 symptoms, the advice from the public health team is that they should stay at home and avoid contacting others.
They are also advised to stay in the UK and to avoid travelling.
If they received their positive result from a bespoke testing Lateral Flow Diagnosis, they need to take a Day 2 PCR test, which is also referred to as an arrivals test. Again, this needs to be given by a private, third-party provider and not the NHS or Government.
If the Test Result is Unclear
If their test comes back with an unclear result, and there is no accurate way of telling if they did or did not have the virus when they had the test, they are advised to take another bespoke LFD test.
They do not need to self-isolate.
As previously mentioned, though, if they have any of the main Covid-19 symptoms, the advice is that they should organise a PCR test and stay away from others as much as they possibly can.
It may be a good idea to organise workplace testing for all your employees, or at least those who are not exempt from travelling regulations and rules. To do this, you need to arrange it through a private, third-party provider.
Testing Outside Your Workplace
If testing in the workplace is not possible, you should provide your employees with support to make sure they are tested. You can do this by:
- Ensuring that they know the type of Covid-19 test they need and where they can get tested
- Allow them time off to get tested
Your employees can order rapid later flow test kits by ordering online, dialling 119 or picking them up at their local pharmacy.
When You Employ Agricultural Workers On a Seasonal Basis
When you employ agricultural workers on a seasonal basis you need to make sure employees can get tested without having to leave the farm. This can be done by setting up workplace testing or helping your employees order home testing kits.