New Self-Isolation Legal Requirements & Breach Fines

On 28th September 2020, the UK Government put into force new legislation named The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020.

To flatten the rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths across England, the regulations impose additional legal requirements on employers and employees regarding self-isolation of individuals in England who either test positive for Coronavirus, or have been identified as a close contact of an individual who has tested positive.

Legal Requirements

Any employee who has been ordered to self-isolate must notify their employer, or agency if the individual is an agency worker, as soon as possible.

When an employer is made aware of an employee who has tested positive or is a close contact of someone who has tested positive, they cannot allow or request the employee to attend any place of work at any point during their period of self-isolation. If an agency worker is instructed to self-isolate, the agency must inform the employer of the individual’s obligations. Working from home during self-isolation is still permitted.If an individual is instructed to self-isolate while on work premises, they must return home immediately and commence their period of self-isolation.


As expected, with the new regulations, new enforcement fines and penalties have also been brought into effect – with fines for those breaching self-isolation rules now starting £1,000 for a first offence with the potential to increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences.

With the new legal requirements for employers, these fines can also be imposed onto those who are preventing someone else from self-isolating when instructed to do so.

An example of this given on the GOV.UK website states that employers who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come to work will be subject to these fines of £10,000.


To assist those on lower incomes who cannot work from home and will therefore lose out on much needed income during their of self-isolation, the government is supporting them with a £500 payment scheme.

This Test and Trace support payment ensures that these individuals on lower incomes are able to self-isolate without worrying about the impact on their finances – making them less likely to breach the rules to avoid losing their money.

Almost 4,000,000 people within England who are currently in receipt of benefits, will be eligible to receive the support payment if they are instructed to self-isolate.

Despite the new rules already being brought into force on 28th September, the self-isolation support scheme is not expected to be in place until 12th October – with those starting self-isolation after 28th September receiving backdated payments once the scheme is up and running in their local authority.

To read the full press release detailing the new package to support and enforce self-isolation, click here.