You should not be expected to work when you are unwell.
If you are too unwell to work, whether due to COVID-19 or any other illness, you should claim sickness absence as you normally would.
You should never feel that you are being pressured to attend work when you are not fit to do so.
You should also:
- familiarise yourself with your employer’s return to work policy. Does it take account of the known risks relating to COVID-19, including assumptions of immunity against the virus?
- ensure regular communication with your employer while on absence leave
- ask your employer about access to a local occupational health service and a health and safety risk assessment upon returning to work
- meet with your employer on your return to work, or as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter to agree an individualised plan for return.
If you become unwell at work
Working when unwell risks your health and wellbeing, and potentially undermines public health policy on preventing COVID-19 transmission. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, you must prioritise self-care and manage your health, including following NHS self-isolation guidance.
It was announced that priority testing would be made available for front-line NHS staff.
This will support those who are free of COVID-19 to return to work once they are well enough to do so and, if they test positive for COVID-19, ensure they are immediately notified and can begin a period of self-isolation.
If you need to self-isolate
If you are self-isolating, you should follow official NHS guidelines which advise individuals to:
- not leave your home for any reason, other than to exercise once a day – but stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people
- not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online - many smaller local shops now have delivery services, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
- not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home.
You should also:
- talk to your employer about working remotely; they should support you to do so
- ensure your employer provides you with clear guidelines on when to self-isolate.
We have a range of services to support you.
- Peer support
- UK wellbeing support directory
Call our free and confidential helpline on 0330 123 1245