The government has launched an online ‘isolation note’ service.
These notes provide employees with evidence to give to their employer that they have been advised to self-isolate because of coronavirus (COVID-19). At present, this advice is likely to be given to anyone who either has symptoms or who lives with someone who has symptoms of the virus.
Self-certify for the first seven days
Employees will still be able to self-certify the first seven days of absence in the usual way. After that, the new ‘isolation notes’ will cover any requirement for the employee to provide medical evidence of a longer period of inability to work.
The new Isolation Note Service
The notes are available online and do not require an individual to see or speak to their doctor. This is part of the government’s guidance around staying indoors and avoiding putting further pressure onto the NHS.
Employees are asked to answer a series of questions, which may inevitably open the door to misuse before an isolation note is issued.
Once a note is issued it is sent via email either to the employee to send on to their employer, or directly to the employer if the employee chooses this option. You should ask for an isolation note where an employee informs you that self-isolation is the reason for their absence.
Keep a Record of Isolation Notes
It’s worth keeping a record of all isolation notes you receive and note their duration.
This is particularly important where various isolation notes are likely to overlap in duration so that you can identify any likely staffing issues at the earliest possible stage.
The isolation notes are also likely to be a useful record where you are making any SSP payments, related to coronavirus, that you intend to reclaim once the government issue more guidance on this.
Posted on March 23, 2020