Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer businesses and workplaces

Guidance for businesses and workplaces - including laboratories and research facilities - on reducing the risk of COVID-19 and supporting staff and customers.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer businesses and workplaces
Test and Protect and self-isolation

Test and Protect and self-isolation

Test and Protect

Everyone should continue to follow Test and Protect rules and guidance which means you should stay at home if you have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, even if you have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Employees who become unwell with COVID symptoms at work

If an employee becomes unwell with COVID-19 symptoms at work, the person should return home as soon as possible. Where possible, they should minimise contact with others and the use of the public transport should be discouraged, however people who have no other option but to use public transport should ensure they:

  • wear a face covering during the journey home
  • follow advice on good ventilation 
  • maintain a reasonable distance from others
  • follow advice on hand and respiratory hygiene
  • minimise the time spent on the public transport system



People no longer need to self-isolate for ten days as a close contact if they:

  • have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination under a UK Government programme (and 2 weeks have passed since receiving the second dose), or are under 18; and
  • are asymptomatic; and
  • return a negative PCR test.

Individuals under 18 years or medically unable to be vaccinated are required to self-isolate until they return a negative PCR test and providing they remain asymptomatic, they will be able to end self-isolation as a close contact. For individuals turning 18, they should follow the guidance for under 18 year olds for 4 months to allow time to become fully vaccinated. After that, if they are partially or non-vaccinated, they will be required to self-isolate for 10 days as a close contact.

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 (even if they are double vaccinated) or are partially or non-vaccinated are still required to self-isolate for ten days.

Support for employees self-isolating

Employers are encouraged to follow the advice in the COVID-19: Fair work statement. It states that no worker should be financially penalised by their organisation for following medical advice, and any absence from work relating to COVID-19 should not affect future sick pay entitlement, result in disciplinary action or count towards any future sickness absence related action. This statement applies to workers who are sick or self-isolating under the Test and Protect strategy. 

Further advice and guidance is available for employers and employees from:

Keeping employees safe if they've ended self-isolation

Even if someone is fully vaccinated, they can still get coronavirus and pass it on to others.

Close contacts who can end self-isolation can help protect others by following our guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread.

As well as getting a PCR test, you and your staff may also consider:

Outbreak management

All staff should be aware of organisation protocols to inform a member of staff, manager or responsible person if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 while at work. If possible and it is safe to do so, find a room or area where they can be isolated behind a closed door, such as a staff office or meeting room. If it is possible to open a window, do so for ventilation.

Organisations should suspect an outbreak if there is either:

  • two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the setting within 14 days; or
  • an increase in staff absence rates, in a setting, due to suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19

Outbreak management plans should include protocols for communication with Test and Protect and local Health Protection teams.



First published: 6 Aug 2021 Last updated: 14 Sep 2021 -