Living with COVID – Employer Duties

Please read our latest guest blog from  Martin Mulholland, our Health and Safety partner. 


You will be aware that there are now plans in place in the UK for “living with COVID”. 

This is as a result of a successful vaccination programme, the immunity built up in the population and new antiviral and therapeutic tools.  Therefore, the Government has thus withdrawn the remaining domestic covid regulations restricting public freedoms. 

There is an emphasis on the word “domestic” as Employers will still have duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure the Health and Safety of employees (and others) from their operations.

Employers will need to assess the risks of transmission and apply suitable and sufficient control measures including employee absences from work.

Note the key dates for the following months:

24 February 2022

Workers will not be legally obliged to tell their employers when they are required to self-isolate.  Employers and workers should
follow Government guidance for those with COVID-19.  This is:

  • Self-isolation is not required if you test positive for COVID-19.
  • Daily testing or self-isolation following contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is not required.

17 March 2022

The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will stop.  The cut-off date is 24th March 2022 for the submission of any new claims for absence periods up to 17th March 2022.

You will no longer be able to claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for employee COVID absences or self-isolation that occur.

25 March 2022

SSP Rules will once again be in place.  This is –
paying SSP from the fourth qualifying day your employee is off work regardless
of the reason for their sickness absence.

1 April 2022

The Government will remove the health and safety requirement for every employer to explicitly consider COVID-19 in their risk
assessments.  The intention is to empower businesses to take responsibility for implementing mitigations that are appropriate for their own particular circumstances.

1 April 2022

The Government will replace the existing set of ‘Working Safely’ guidance with new public health guidance. 

Employers should continue to consider the needs of employees at greater risk from COVID-19, including those whose immune system means they are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. 

The Government will consult with employers and businesses to ensure guidance continues to support them to manage the risk of COVID-19 in workplaces.

More details are on the Government website: