From Monday (8 June), the majority of entrants to the UK, whether existing UK residents returning from abroad or non-residents entering for business, leisure or other purposes will be required to complete a 14-day isolation period upon arrival. Before arriving in the UK, individuals will be required to complete an online “Contact Locator Form” which details the individual’s journey and contact details, with UK Border Force carrying out spot checks to ensure compliance with the requirement. Failure to complete this form may result in a fixed penalty notice of £100 and, in exceptional circumstances, refusal of entry into the UK for non-residents. The government have also stated that Public Health England will be carrying out follow up checks to ensure compliance with the 14-day isolation period and those caught flouting the rule, may be issued with a £1,000 fixed penalty notice.
There are some professional exemptions to the 14-day isolation period. Amongst others, the following individuals will be able to enter the UK without self-isolating:
- a worker with specialist technical skills, entering for essential or emergency works/services to ensure the continued production, supply, movement, manufacture, storage or preservation of goods
- a worker with specialist technical skills, entering for essential or emergency works/services or to fulfil contractual obligations or warranty specifications in, or in connection with, waste management facilities used for the management, sorting, treatment, recovery, or disposal of waste (including energy from waste)
- a worker with specialist technical skills, where those specialist technical skills are required for essential or emergency works to ensure the continued safe and secure operations of the following infrastructure:
- gas and electricity transmission and distribution networks and system operators
- gas terminals
- space infrastructure
- A person who resides in the UK and who pursues an activity as an employed or self-employed person in another country to which they usually go at least once a week
For these individuals, they will still be required to complete the “Contact Locator Form” and must also carry a letter from their employer which details:
- The individual’s personal details, such as name and address
- Contact details of the individual’s employer
- Contact details for the business or organisation who the individual will be visiting whilst in the UK
- A description of the work the individual will be performing and why it is essential
Where possible, the individual should also provide their employer issued photo identification card.
There is a further exemption to those arriving from the Common Travel Area (Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man) who will also not need to self-isolate upon arrival.
A review of these measures will take place in the week commencing 28 June. In the meantime, employers should determine their approach to any employees who may come to be affected by the self-isolation requirements, and should consider whether any amendments to their holiday or company sick pay policies are appropriate. Where an employee is unable to work from home during the self-isolation period, options which employers may wish to consider include refusing holiday requests, designating the self-isolation period as a period of unpaid leave or requiring the self-isolation period to be taken as further annual leave. Further, the government has not yet indicated whether it will extend entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay to employees required to self-isolate in these circumstances (as it has previously done for shielding employees and employees isolating under the Test & Trace system) and it may decide not to do so. Employers should keep a watching brief on this.