A public consultation on the Coronavirus (Compensation for Self-isolation) Bill 2022 has been launched today. This consultation invites views on a specific legislative proposal that is designed to support the wider Covid recovery, provide greater public health resilience and support public services, and ensure Health Boards can remain focused on their critical role in fighting this pandemic.
This consultation concerns a legal liability that arises as a result of the temporary modifications made to the Public Health Etc (Scotland) Act 2008 (“the 2008 Act”) by the UK Coronavirus Act 2020 (“The UK Act”) expiring or ceasing to have effect. The 2008 Act includes a duty on Health Boards to provide compensation to a person who receives a written request from the Board to be quarantined, be excluded from entering or remaining in a specified place or refrain from carrying on any activity or type of activity. This duty was changed to be discretionary during the pandemic by the Coronavirus Act 2020.
If this modification to the 2008 Act is no longer in force, Health Boards will be liable to pay compensation to all people they ask in writing to self-isolate in the manner set out above and to carers of such people. This would place a substantial financial and administrative burden on Health Boards.
The consultation will close on 24 September 2021. Responses will be carefully considered and a full analysis will be published accordingly. Subject to the outcome of this consultation exercise, and finalisation of the government's legislative programme, it remains my intention to legislate in this area in the current parliamentary session.