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NHS England COVID-19 FAQs: Staff required to stay away from the workplace

FAQs for staff who are required to stay away from the workplace due to COVID-19.

6 July 2022

NHS Staff who are required to stay away from their workplace due to COVID-19 

The following high level FAQs, hosted by NHS Employers, have been developed by NHS England. The FAQs are informed by UK Health Security Agency guidance on managing respiratory infection or a positive COVID-19 test in the context of business as usual and cover when patient facing or non patient facing NHS staff test positive for COVID-19 and are required to stay away from their workplace.
 

On 21st February 2022 the Government published guidance on living with Covid. However, the NHS will continue to test staff for COVID-19. The testing regime for NHS staff is set out in the ‘Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) standard operating procedure: Symptomatic and asymptomatic staff testing’ .  

On 1 April 2022, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) published guidance  -  Managing healthcare staff with symptoms of a respiratory infection or a positive COVID-19 test result which is not prescriptive which takes a ‘business as usual’ (BAU) approach to managing infection control, including for COVID-19. 

All healthcare providers, not just the NHS must carefully manage infection control. They are expected to continue to carry out risk assessments, which keep their staff and patients safe. 

This FAQ is informed by UKHSA guidance on managing respiratory infection or a positive COVID-19 in the context of BAU.

STAFF REQUIRED TO STAY AWAY FROM THEIR WORKPLACE

1.    Are patient facing and non patient facing staff covered by the UKHSA guidance? 

Yes. The UKHSA guidance is not prescriptive, but it refers to patient facing and non-patient facing staff who test positive for COVID-19, whether or not they are required to test themselves. 

It is for organisations to carry out risk assessments and informed by the UKHSA guidance, manage infection control arrangements for their patient facing and non patient facing staff. 

If these staff test positive, the guidance suggests that the same principles for managing infection control, including the time staff should stay away from their workplace should apply. 

2.    How will staff be paid if their employer requires them to stay away from their workplace?

Where patient facing or non patient facing staff are required by their employer to stay away from their workplace, they should be paid in line with established arrangements for managing infection control, ensuring that legal obligations are met.

3.    If patient or non patient facing staff employed on trust banks or by sub-contractors who require them to be on NHS premises, test positive for Covid-19 and are required by their employer to stay away from their workplace, will they receive full pay? 

The same principles as set out in the UKHSA guidance for managing infection control should apply. However, it is for these organisations to determine how staff should be paid and that any decision meets their legal obligations. 

4.    If staff employed by an Agency, Primary Care or non NHS commissioned services, test positive for Covid-19 and are required to stay away from their workplace, will they receive full pay? 

The same principles as set out in the UKHSA guidance for managing infection control should apply. However, it is for these organisations to determine how staff should be paid and that any decision meets their legal obligations. 

5.    Will there be additional funding if staff are required to stay away from their workplace?

No. Systems are expected to manage within their allocations and follow the Government ‘Living with Covid-19’ guidance and UKHSA ‘Managing healthcare staff with symptoms of a respiratory infection or a positive COVID-19 test result’ guidance.