Working safely during coronavirus

If someone at work might have coronavirus

An individual should not go to the workplace if they:

  • have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have tested positive for coronavirus
  • are told to self-isolate (stay at home) by a government test and trace service, because they've been in close contact with someone who's tested positive
  • need to self-isolate because someone in their household has symptoms or has tested positive
  • need to self-isolate because they've returned to the UK after a holiday or business travel

If someone cannot work because they have to self-isolate, they must tell their employer as soon as possible, or face a fine of £50. They can also be fined from £1,000 up to a maximum of £10,000 for not self-isolating.

If someone is told to self-isolate, they should work from home if that is possible.

If they're already at work, they should:

  • tell their employer immediately and go home
  • avoid touching anything, and wash their hands regularly
  • cough or sneeze into a tissue and put it in a bin, or if they do not have tissues, cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow
  • use a separate bathroom from others, if possible
  • avoid using public transport to travel home, if possible

Employers can be fined up to £10,000 if they knowingly ask or encourage a worker or employee who needs to self-isolate to come to the workplace.

If someone with coronavirus comes to work

If someone with coronavirus comes to work, the workplace does not necessarily have to close, but they should follow cleaning advice.

See advice for cleaning workplaces on GOV.UK.

If staff have contact at work with someone who has coronavirus 

If an employee or worker has had contact at work with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus, they will not usually need to self-isolate. 

If they followed social distancing rules, they should only need to self-isolate if they:

They should speak to their employer if they are unsure or have any concerns about whether they need to self-isolate.

Supporting staff who need to self-isolate

If someone needs to self-isolate, it's good practice for employers to:

Depending on someone's circumstances, they might have to self-isolate more than once during the coronavirus pandemic. Employers should support them in the same way each time.

To find out how long someone must self-isolate for, see:

For workplace advice about the government test and trace services:

Last reviewed