Do you know what to do if an employee has symptoms of Covid-19?

It is really important as we try and get back to work and back to the new ‘normal’ of work that everyone knows how to seek help for symptoms of Covid-19 so that self-isolating and testing is not delayed..

If you have a member of staff who is struggling to breathe then dial 999 for help. If they do not have breathing difficulties but have symptoms then the first place to look for advice is https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.  This NHS website then gives them the choice of checking symptoms and whether or not they should self-isolate.

They should self-isolate if they:

  • have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste)
  • are waiting for a coronavirus test result
  • have tested positive for coronavirus – this means they have coronavirus
  • live with someone who has symptoms, is waiting for a test result or has tested positive
  • someone in their support bubble has symptoms, is waiting for a test result or has tested positive

Testing

Always go through the official NHS testing system, we would not advise getting a private test as many of these have proven to be unreliable and do not feed into the government test and trace system.

You can ask for a test:

  • for yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms now (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • for someone you live with, if they have coronavirus symptoms

Testing needs to be done in the first 5 days of having symptoms. Do not wait.

Isolation notes

If an employee has been told to self-isolate because of coronavirus they can get an isolation note. https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/

As an employer you can check the validity of an isolation note. To check this, you will need the 16 digit reference number on the isolation note and the employee’s date of birth. https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/check

Isolation notes are for employees who:

  • have symptoms of coronavirus
  • live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus
  • have been told to self-isolate by a test and trace service

The government has asked that employers use discretion around the need for medical evidence if an employee has been told to self-isolate because of coronavirus.

However, if you need evidence that an employee cannot work because of coronavirus, ask them to get an isolation note.

Employees who cannot work because of coronavirus should avoid asking their GP for a fit note so that GP’s can focus on looking after their patients.

All information is taken from the NHS website and is current advice on 15th June 2019.