Publication - Advice and guidance
Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer businesses and workplaces
Guidance for businesses and workplaces on reducing the risk of COVID-19 and supporting staff and customers.
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 and a booster of the COVID-19 vaccination.
If an individual becomes unwell with possible COVID-19 symptoms, receives a positive COVID-19 test result, or is required to self-isolate while away from home (including while in the workplace), public transport should be avoided.
A PCR test should be arranged as soon as possible (for individuals displaying possible COVID-19 symptoms) and a well-ventilated place should be found where the individual can be separated from others while waiting to go home. Individuals should only drive if well enough to do so and follow Transport Scotland’s advice on advice on how to travel safely and the Scottish Government guidance on travel outwith Scotland (covers the UK and other countries).
Risks of transmission and ability to put in place full mitigations when making travel arrangements should be carefully considered:
- individuals may be transported in a private vehicle by a friend or family member if they have already had significant contact with them, or if the friend or family member is aware of the possible COVID-19 diagnosis, and accepts the risk of transmission. Vaccination, face coverings, regular LFD testing and acting quickly on symptoms are all vitally important if supporting a friend or family member in this way
- private commercial vehicles may potentially be used if they have mitigations in place and additional precautions are taken to minimise the risk of transmission, e.g. face coverings/masks, maximised ventilation, physical distancing, post-journey cleaning
- in all vehicles, individuals should wear a face covering, or surgical face mask if available, and the vehicle should be well-ventilated with open windows and with all occupants following hand and respiratory hygiene i.e. hand sanitising regularly and coughing into a tissue and disposing of it safely
Please refer to latest guidance on symptomatic people, positive tests, close contact guidance and self-isolation at Test and Protect.
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:
- the Citizens Advice website
- the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service
- Scottish Hazards a free service for those without recourse to unions
- the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC)
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 meet the criteria to end self-isolation should adhere to the same precautionary measures and follow guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread.
After confirming a positive case, all employees should redouble their efforts to ensure the workplace is protected by adhering to the precautionary measures and any additional measures put in place for that workplace or sector.
If you work in health and social care, you should follow the guidance specific to these settings
Employers should include outbreak management plans in their COVID-19 risk assessments and make sure employees are aware of these plans. This should include plans for employees who become ill at work with COVID-19 symptoms and have to travel home. These plans should also include protocols for communication with Test and Protect and local Health Protection teams.
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.
An outbreak should be suspected if you are notified of two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in your setting within 14 days, particularly if there is a suspected link between the cases. Suspected outbreaks should:
- be reported to your local Health Protection Team for surveillance, awareness and risk assessment purposes
- trigger an internal review by management of the workplace’s assessment of risk and mitigation measures and any improvements made to their implementation
The level of response to the outbreak from the HPT will be based on the HPT’s risk assessment, taking into account the specific workplace setting, the number or proportion of employees or other attendees affected, and the potential public health impact of the incident. It is the role of the HPT to declare an outbreak, assess it, and declare it at an end, including whether a business should be closed or can remain open.