Advice: What to do if you develop symptoms or need to self-isolate

What to do if you develop symptoms

If you develop any of the main symptoms of Covid-19 NHS staff must follow national guidance.

That means you must self-isolate and secure a Covid-19 test (this should be through NHS channels where available, not through public testing such as mass rapid testings).

NHS Employers guidance for Trusts reminds them that they are “legally required to ensure an employee fulfils the appropriate period of self-isolation.”

Positive test result

In case of a positive test result you must self-isolate for 10 days following the first symptoms.

If you are asymptomatic you should self-isolate for 10 days from the date the test sample was taken.

If your symptoms continue past 10 days, you should continue to self-isolate.

Negative test result

If you have a negative test result you can return to work once your symptoms clear up, provided that no-one you are living with is symptomatic without a negative test result.

If other members in your house are symptomatic and awaiting a test result or test positive, then you should not return to work until they test negative. 

Work during self-isolation when you are not ill

Employers may request that you work from home during self-isolation if you are required to self-isolate but are not showing symptoms yourself. 

Payment for self-isolation

If you are unable to perform duties from home when required to self-isolate you should still be paid your full pay, including enhancements, for the period of self-isolation. This should be classed by your employer as “Covid-19 special leave” and is distinct from any policy covering standard special leave at your Trust. 

Payment for Covid-19 sickness absence

If you are off sick with Covid-19, you should receive full pay inclusive of all enhancements.

Covid-19 related sick leave is separate from your usual sick pay.

Your employer should class this as Covid-19 related sick leave - it is treated differently from normal sickness absence, and should not be subject to regular sickness absence procedures or be included in calculations of sickness entitlement used for non-Covid illness.

When to seek advice

If you feel that you are being treated unfairly by your employer, they are not following the procedures outlined nationalise, or you are facing pressure to break national guidelines on self-isolation, then you should contact HCSA for advice and support via or on 01256 770 999.

Further resources

National guidelines on self-isolation

NHS Employers