The Government announced its plan for England and Covid-19 on 21st February 2022, two years on from the start of the pandemic. The plan outlined how we are to live with Covid-19 and that the responsibility for how to live with the virus will be placed on individuals and employers rather than the government. This will of course have implications for employers and will raise questions around what to do when employees have Covid-19. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a legal duty on employers to protect the health, safety, and welfare of everyone in the workplace and to make appropriate arrangements to ensure this happens. Furthermore, this duty even extends to everyone who might be affected by the company such as visitors, contractors, agency workers and clients.
There is also The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 which states that, as a minimum, employers must identify what could cause injury or illness in the business, then decide how likely that someone could be harmed and how serious the risk is, and to take action to eliminate the hazard or if not possible then to control the risk. This is done through conducting workplace risk assessments.
From 1st April free mass symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public will end and will instead be targeted towards the most vulnerable. Individuals with Covid symptoms will be asked to exercise personal responsibility when deciding whether to stay at home – until then they are still advised to do so. To prevent the stockpiling of free lateral flow tests before 1 April, people will only be able to order a box of tests every three days instead of every 24 hours. Once tests are no longer free, ministers expect a market for lateral flow tests to develop, with individual tests expected to cost a few pounds.