Natalie Swift BSc (Hons) MA (Cantab) MCIPD CMgr MCMI
HR Consultant | Swift HRTel: 07918 015846
Government guidance requires anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to arrange a test. As employers, you have a duty to protect the health and safety of your employees, and it is likely that you can reasonably instruct an employee exhibiting symptoms to be tested. If the employee fails to follow your instruction to arrange a test, you may be justified in taking disciplinary action.
Now that regular testing of care sector staff without COVID-19 symptoms is here, the best starting point is to clearly explain to your staff the reasons for it – “to protect their colleagues and service users by identifying asymptomatic cases and isolating them” – and they may hopefully agree to participate voluntarily.
You will also need to consider whether to make testing voluntary or mandatory, with a policy on what to do if someone refuses testing. Your decision should be carefully considered, based on a risk assessment and take into account:
For example, if there is local community transmission of COVID-19 and your staff cannot consistently maintain social distancing at work, you may decide that the likelihood of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and transmission in the workplace means that you cannot fulfil your responsibilities under the H&S 1974 Act if you allow staff to opt out of testing. This could be your justification to make testing mandatory in that scenario.
Please be aware that any attempt to test staff without their consent could be an assault. If someone refuses to test, your actions only include whether to allow them to carry on working, and what employment actions to take.
Swift HR is based in Newquay and offers specialist HR advice and support for Adult Social Care Providers in Cornwall. Registering your business with us is FREE, and once registered you can contact us for HR support whenever you need to. Full details of our services are on our website. We offer affordable pay-as-you-go rates for one off pieces of work, or if you need a few hours of support each month we can offer a retained HR service at a discounted rate. There are no long contracts (you can end or change your level of support with a month’s notice), so that you only pay for the HR support you need, and within your budget. For your FREE registration with Swift HR, call Natalie Swift on 07918 015846 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.