Six key changes for employers from 19 July


With confirmation that a number of COVID-19 restrictions will be eased from today, Monday 19 July, here are the key changes employers need to be aware of.


  • Vaccination – The Government has issued guidance to employers about supporting the vaccination programme together with a COVID-19 vaccination toolkit with materials for employers to use. This includes scripts, assets for email signatures, internet banners, social media posts, briefing sheets and vaccine fact sheets. Employers are encouraged to promote vaccination by encouraging senior employees to share their vaccination experiences and ensuring policies and procedures do not disincentivise employees from getting the vaccine.


  • Return to offices – The ‘work from home if you can’ message will no longer apply with the Government advice now being for employers to plan a gradual return to the workplace, unless you live or work in an area where the Delta COVID-19 variant is spreading; in which case the advice remains to work from home. The full list of areas is here.


  • Clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) employees – CEV employees are advised to take steps to minimise the risk of catching/ passing on COVID-19 by considering whether those around them have been vaccinated, continuing to practice social distancing, wearing face coverings and reducing the amount of time spent in settings where it is not possible to maintain social distancing with people outside of their own group. Employers are advised to give extra consideration to CEV employees by exploring their individual needs and supporting them by taking any additional precautions advised by their clinicians. CEV employees continue to be eligible for furlough even though shielding is paused.


  • COVID secure workplaces – The Working Safely During COVID-19 guidance has been updated to reflect the move to Step 4. The guidance confirms that social distancing will not need to be implemented in workplaces. The guidance requires businesses operating in various working environments to take six priority actions to protect staff and customers from COVID-19. These are:
    • Complete a health and safety risk assessment to include the risk from COVID-19;
    • Provide adequate ventilation;
    • Clean more often;
    • Turn away people with COVID-19 symptoms;
    • Enable people to check in at your venue; and
    • Communicate with workers, contractors and visitors about safety measures.


  • Self-isolation – It remains the case that organisations must not require a self-isolating individual to come to work. Nothing has been said about the existing liability and fines in place if employers breach this. However, from 16 August under 18s and individuals who are double vaccinated will no longer be required to self-isolate (unless they test positive) so employers may wish to consider asking for / recording vaccination status.


  • Face coverings – Although the emphasis is shifting away from legal requirement to personal responsibility, the Government still advises continued use of face coverings in enclosed and crowded spaces where coming into contact with those you don’t normally meet. Employers will need to take a view on face coverings and communicate this to all staff. There are a growing number of organisations, retail outlets and transport providers that have already confirmed that face coverings will continue to be required on their premises and facilities.


The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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