Citizens Advice Salford

Self-isolation requirements – A summary of what you need to know:

There have been a lot of conflicting government announcements this week regarding self-isolation rules with ‘advice’ changes daily.  The different rules obviously affect employee obligations and corresponding rights to pay. 

It can be difficult to understand what it all means to you and to the people you might live with, here is a quick summary of the current situation, and the key points that you need to know,

Firstly, there is a difference between notification by NHS Test and Trace and being pinged by the NHS Covid-19 app. NHS Test and Trace notifications carry a legally binding obligation to isolate for 10 days. If this happens to you and you are a worker, you are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from day 1 and small employers can reclaim the SSP from the government. A worker might also be eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment from their local council. (In Salford contact The Spirit of Salford Helpline on 0800 952 1000). The council can also give you advice about any practical problems you may have in self-isolating. You might also be able to furlough for the period you need to self-isolate. Speak to your employer about this. This particular option has not been as clear in the past as it ought to have been, and there is more information about it from the following BBC news piece:

If you are self-employed, you may also be entitled to help from the Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS). 

For more detailed information of benefits while self-isolating check out our online information at:

In contrast, whilst NHS Covid-19 app notifications - known as ‘pings’ - advise the employee to self-isolate for 10 days (even with a negative test) and get a test, there is no legal requirement to self-isolate and no clear equivalent SSP entitlements (though, of course, your employer can choose to pay sick pay).  There is also no obligation on you to tell their employer.  In addition, the government has also announced that critical workers may be exempt from self-isolation rules if they take daily tests. The current list of critical workers is changing daily but includes soldiers, refuse collectors, staff of telecoms organisations, frontline NHS and care staff and supermarket workers. 

Further, from 16 August, people who have had 2 vaccinations won’t need to self-isolate if they have no symptoms but have been in contact with someone who’s tested positive.  This rule has been brought forward to 19 July for frontline NHS staff and care workers to alleviate pressure on the NHS. 

This position is changing daily, and the employee must comply with the employer's requirements as well as being mindful of the above.  Employees who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace should not attend the workplace and an attempt to force them to attend would break the law. 


Tom Togher,

July 28, 2021.