Self-isolation for coronavirus (COVID-19)

When someone must stay at home

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Someone could get fined for breaking the law if they do not follow stay at home ('self-isolation') rules.

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

Someone must self-isolate if:

  • they have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have tested positive
  • they are not fully vaccinated and someone in their household has symptoms or 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

If someone is identified as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, they might have to self-isolate. They do not have to self-isolate if they:

  • live in England and are either fully vaccinated, under 18 years old, medically exempt or taking part in a vaccine trial
  • live in Scotland, are fully vaccinated and get a negative PCR test
  • live in Wales and are fully vaccinated or under 18 years old

See more guidance on NHS test and trace services:

Follow self-isolation rules

If someone needs to self-isolate, they must stay at home for at least 10 days.

Follow government guidelines for self-isolating:

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 £500 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.

    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 can 'self-certify'. This means 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.

    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, depending on where they've travelled from.

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

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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