Self-isolation for coronavirus (COVID-19)

When someone must stay at home

Someone must check and follow any stay at home ('self-isolation') rules that apply if:

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

Find out about the symptoms of COVID-19 from the NHS

    Self-isolation rules

    If someone needs to self-isolate, they must stay at home. This applies even if someone has had their vaccine.

    Someone 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.

    To find out who has to self-isolate and what rules apply, follow government guidance:

    If someone is told to self-isolate by an NHS test and trace service

    If someone is identified by an NHS test and trace service as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, they might have to self-isolate. Find out more:

    If someone at work has COVID-19

    If someone at work tests positive for COVID-19, employers should check the latest self-isolation rules to see if staff who had close contact with them need to self-isolate. 

    Find out more about what to do if someone at work has COVID-19

    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 COVID-19 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 COVID-19 pandemic. Employers should support them in the same way each time.

      Support payments for self-isolation

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

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

      Isolation notes – 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.

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

      If someone is off work due to COVID-19 and their employer asks for proof, 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

      Self-isolation or quarantine after travel

      If someone has travelled from outside of the UK, they will need to check if they must follow quarantine or self-isolation rules.

      Find out more about self-isolation or quarantine after returning to the UK

      Last reviewed