Self-isolation for coronavirus (COVID-19)

When someone must stay at home

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Someone must stay at home ('self-isolate') if:

  • they have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have tested positive
  • they are told to self-isolate by a government test and trace service
  • someone in their household has symptoms or has tested positive

They could get fined for breaking the law if they do not follow self-isolation rules.

If someone cannot work because they have to self-isolate, they must tell their employer as soon as possible.

See coronavirus symptoms guidance from the NHS.

Follow self-isolation rules

If someone needs to self-isolate, they must stay at home for at least 10 days from the day they:

  • were in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus
  • first had symptoms

Follow government guidelines for self-isolating:

If someone in the same household has coronavirus

If someone in their household has symptoms or tests positive for coronavirus, the employee or worker must stay at home. They must do this for at least 10 days from the day the other person first had symptoms or tested positive.

If the employee or worker also gets symptoms while isolating, they should get tested. If their test result is positive, they must start a further full 10-day isolation period from when they started to get symptoms.

Find out how to get a coronavirus test on GOV.UK.

Support staff to self-isolate

If an employee or worker needs to self-isolate, the employer should:

  • send them home immediately, if they're at work
  • support them while they’re at home, including their wellbeing and mental health
  • consider making changes to the workplace to stop further spread

If an employee or worker is not able to work because they're ill with coronavirus or cannot work from home while self-isolating, they must get any sick pay they're entitled to.

Someone might have to self-isolate more than once during the coronavirus pandemic. Employers should support them in the same way each time.

Quarantine after travel

If someone has travelled from outside of the UK, they must follow quarantine or isolation rules. This means they must not go to the workplace. See the rules and guidance for arriving in:

If someone is contacted by test and trace

Someone must self-isolate if a government 'test and trace' service tells them to because they've been in close contact with someone who’s tested positive.

See more guidance on government test and trace services:

Support payments for self-isolation

If someone has been told to self-isolate, they could be entitled to a £500 support payment.

The eligibility for the payment is different if you live in England, Scotland or Wales. For more guidance, see:

If the employer needs proof

The usual sickness absence process applies for staff who need to self-isolate and cannot work from home.

Check your organisation's absence policy to see what it says about proving sickness absence.

If someone is off work for more than 7 days in a row, they can get an isolation note from the:

  • NHS website – for anyone in England, Scotland and Wales
  • NHS App – for those registered with a GP in England

If someone is off work for 7 days or less, they do not need to give their employer a fit note or other proof of sickness.

Employers might need to be flexible if asking for isolation notes. For example, if someone is very ill, they might not be able to get a note straight away.

Sick pay and self-isolation
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Please do not include any personal information, for example email address or phone number. Unfortunately we cannot respond to individual requests for information. If you need help, call our helpline on 0300 123 1190