Self-isolation for coronavirus (COVID-19)

When someone should stay at home

Self-isolating (staying at home) is no longer a legal requirement. But if someone has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive, they should follow the public health advice for England, Scotland or Wales.

Self-isolation in England

In England, if someone has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive, they should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

Employers should review the government guidance, talk with their staff and decide what staff should do. It's good practice to agree a policy with staff on self-isolation so everyone understands the process to follow.

When making a decision about self-isolating, an employer should take into account keeping the workplace safe for everyone and any concerns from staff.

Find out more about:

Self-isolation in Scotland and Wales

In Scotland and Wales, if someone has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive, they should stay at home.

Employers should support staff to isolate if they need to.

Check the:

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 should self-isolate.

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

Supporting staff to self-isolate

If an employee or worker self-isolates, the employer should:

  • 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, 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 each time.

Support payments for self-isolation

In Scotland and Wales, if someone has been told to self-isolate they could be entitled to a support payment.

In England, support payments ended on 24 February 2022. If someone was told to self-isolate in England before 24 February 2022, they had until 6 April 2022 to claim for a support payment.

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 or are not well enough to work.

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 the UK, they will need to check the travel rules for England, Scotland or Wales, depending on where they're entering the UK.

Find out more about returning to the UK

Last reviewed