Covid-19 Employer Guidance – Positive Cases in the Workplace

With the recent easing of Coronavirus restrictions, positive cases of Covid-19 have increased dramatically, leading to what is known as the ‘ping-demic’.  As a result, and with more and more people returning to their normal place of work, it is inevitable that many employers will face positive cases occurring in the workplace.

Here, we have provided some guidance on how these situations can be handled, should they arise, along with measures that can reduce the impact on the business and your employees.


Ensuring that your Company is following Covid secure guidelines can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if someone tests positive. A few things you can do to help with this are:

  • Encourage your employees to use the NHS COVID-19 App
  • Complete a workplace Covid risk assessment, and provide a copy to all employees
  • Increase the ventilation in the working environment
  • Insert Perspex screens between those working closely together
  • Clean the work surfaces more often
  • Maximise the distance between colleagues

Close Contacts

A close contact is someone who has been in contact with a positive case from two (2) days before, and up to ten (10) days later. You are identified as a close contact if:

  • You live in the same household as a positive case, or someone you live with has Covid symptoms
  • You have had face-to-face contact within 1 meter of a positive case
  • You have been within a meter of a positive case for a minute or more, without face-to-face contact
  • You are the sexual contact of a positive case
  • You have been within 2 meters for more than 15 minutes of a positive case. This can be in one go or amount to 15 mins throughout the day
  • You have travelled in the same vehicle and/or plane as a positive case.

NHS Track and Trace do not deem someone as a close contact if the interaction with the positive case was through a Perspex screen.  This is something to bear in mind when seating employees within the working environment.

Positive Employees

If you have an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should call the Self-Isolation Service Hub on 020 3743 6715 as soon as you are aware of the test result.

You will need to provide them with the 8-digit account ID that has been given to the positive employee, along with the names of any co-workers who have been in close contact.

Those employees that you believe may be a close contact, but are not 100% sure, should self-isolate until you get clarification from the Hub.

You can ask that employees provide you with a Track and Trace Isolation note for evidence.

Consideration for Positive and Self-isolation Cases

If your employees that have tested positive or are having to self-isolate due to being a close contact, there are a number of options that can be considered:

  • Enable them to work from home, if possible
  • Allowing them to use some of their annual leave entitlement
  • Treat as sickness absence, paying Company Sick Pay (CSP) or Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

(Please note that employees are to be paid SSP at a minimum, from their first day of isolation.  Employers with under 250 employees can reclaim SSP payments)

 This guidance is due to change for double-vaccinated employees from 16th August 2021, so keep your eye out for further updates!

  If you need further guidance or advice, please contact our team of consultants on 01743 444007 or email us at

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