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Test and Protect Scheme and Extension to Statutory Sick Pay

29 May 2020

The ‘Test and Protect’ scheme, Scotland’s approach to implementing the Covid-19 'test, trace, isolate, support' strategy went live on Thursday 28 May 2020.

A link to the Scottish Government advice document for employers can be found here:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-test-and-protect-advice-for-employers/

What will the Test and Protect Scheme mean?

Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 should take immediate steps to be tested.

They and their household should then self-isolate until the results of the test are known.

Until they have been tested and told if it is safe to leave home, employers should make sure that staff do not come in to work.

If the test is positive, the person will need to self-isolate for a minimum of 7 days. They will also need to provide details to contact tracers of everyone with whom they have had close contact.

What does ‘close contact’ mean?

  • People within their household.
  • People with whom they have had face-to-face contact.
  • People with whom they have been within two metres of for a period of 15 minutes or more.

These people will then be contacted by contact tracers and will need to immediately self-isolate at home for 14 days, usually from the date the last contact occurred.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

Staff who have tested positive are entitled to SSP. The entitlement is from day 1 of absence. That was already the case based on previous amendments to SSP legislation.

Others who were already entitled to SSP are:

  • Those who have symptoms (though they now need to take immediate steps to be tested),
  • Those who are living with someone who has tested positive (or who has symptoms).
  • Those who are shielding as they are extremely vulnerable.

The addition is that from Thursday 28 May 2020 entitlement to SSP is now extended to those staff members who have been told by contact tracers to isolate under the new test and protect scheme.

This means a staff member who has been notified that they have had contact with a person with Covid-19, and who is self-isolating for 14 days as a result, will now be entitled to statutory sick pay. The entitlement is from day 1 of absence.

Staff who are self-isolating can request an isolation note through NHS Inform.

What else does the Government’s Test and Protect advice remind employers about?

  • Self-isolation may be required on more than one occasion.
  • Anyone who has symptoms must self-isolate straight away and use NHS Inform or call 0800 028 2816 to arrange a test.
  • Close contacts of someone who has tested positive, as identified by an NHS contact tracer, will have to self-isolate for 14 days. This could mean colleagues of a staff member with symptoms may have been close contacts, and may be asked by the NHS to self-isolate if that staff member does test positive.
  • NHS contact tracers may require someone to self-isolate even if they have previously tested positive for coronavirus and have recovered.

All of this brings additional requirements for employers to consider as Scotland and the rest of the UK move into their easing of lockdown measures.

This update contains general information only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice.

Employment law

Caroline Carr, Partner: E: cac@bto.co.uk / T: 0141 225 5263
Laura Salmond, Partner: E: lis@bto.co.uk / T: 0141 225 5313
Jacqueline McCluskey, Partner: E: jmcc@bto.co.uk / T: 0131 222 2936
Douglas Strang, Senior Associate: E: dst@bto.co.uk / T: 0141 225 5271

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