On Friday 20 March 2020, the government’s Department of Health and Social Care launched an online service providing isolation notes to individuals unable to attend work as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Isolation notes enable employees to provide evidence to their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, whether that be because the employee has symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms of the virus.
Employees are able to self-certify for the first 7 days of absence, however employers often require evidence after this period. Employees will now no longer need to contact their GP in order to obtain such evidence if they have been off work for more than 7 days due to coronavirus.
The online service works by asking individuals a set of questions to determine their eligibility. If the advice to the individual is to self-isolate for either 7 or 14 days, an isolation note will be issued via email. If the individual does not have an email address, they can have the note sent to a trusted family member or friend, or directly to their employer. The service can also be used to generate an isolation note on behalf of another individual.
It is hoped that the new online service will reduce the pressure on the NHS and prevent the need for individuals with symptoms or living with someone with symptoms to leave their homes, whilst providing reassurance to employers regarding their employees’ absence as a result of self-isolation.