Frequently asked questions about self-isolation for staff.
Owing to the change in Government Coronavirus guidance, this page is currently under review. If you have any queries, please contact

This page was last updated on: 23 December 2020, 1.25pm

What is self-isolation?

For more information about self-isolation, please see our main what is self-isolation? page.


Who do I tell if I think I need to self-isolate?

If you need to self-isolate please contact your line manager who will be able to give guidance and support on this process.

Thereafter you will receive written confirmation via email or post from HR with links to the Employee Assistance Programme and your local Mental Health First Aider, should you require additional support.


When can I return to work after self-isolating?

You must stay at home for 10 days after your symptoms first started, unless you work in supported living, residential settings or short breaks (respite). Please see new guidance from the Government on self-isolation times.

If someone in your household is showing symptoms, you should stay at home for 10 days from the first day the household member started to show symptoms.

If you have been contacted by an NHS contact tracer, follow the guidance given to you on self-isolating.

A cough may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the coronavirus infection having cleared. A persistent cough alone does not mean you must continue to self-isolate for more than 10 days.

However, if you still have a high temperature after 10 days you should stay at home until your temperature returns to normal.

If you develop new symptoms at any point after ending your first period of isolation, then you need to follow the same guidance on self-isolation again.

If you are unsure, contact NHS111


Are there things that a more vulnerable worker should not do?

There are some common sense practices that teams can consider on behalf of their more vulnerable team members, for example, not asking a more vulnerable member of the team (because they have told you they fall into the more vulnerable category) to go into busy supermarkets to do people’s shopping.

If someone we support begins to show symptoms of coronavirus and has to stay and home and self-isolate, members of their team who may be more vulnerable should not continue to work with the person with symptoms. The member of staff should seek medical advice from their GP and advise their manager.

The member of staff should not be asked to work with others for 10 days and work from home if at all possible, or self-isolate. If they show symptoms at any point within the 10 days, they should follow the 10 day stay at home self-isolation guidance. If after 10 days they are symptom-free, then they will be redeployed to another team or place of work.


New legal requirements for self-isolation

In England, you could be fined if you do not stay at home and self-isolate following a positive test result for COVID-19, or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate because you are a contact of someone who has had a positive test result.

If you test positive for COVID-19, it will also be an offence to knowingly provide false information about your close contacts to NHS Test and Trace. Failure to follow these requirements may result in a fine of up to £10,000.

You may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme if you are required to stay at home and self-isolate. Local authorities will be putting arrangements in place to make these payments, with further details to be made available shortly.

You will be eligible if you live in England and meet all the following criteria:

  • you have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  • you are employed or self-employed
  • you cannot work from home and will lose income as a result
  • you are claiming at least one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credits, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit


Guidance on self-isolation for people who work or live in supported living, residential settings and/or short breaks

The Government has issued new self-isolation guidance for people who live or work in supported living, residential settings and short breaks support. This guidance tells you how long you, or the people you support, should self-isolate for if you receive a positive COVID-19 test result.


I am a staff member and I have received a positive test result. How long do I need to self-isolate for?

If you have displayed symptoms of COVID-19, you should self-isolate for 10 days from the date you took the test. You can return to work on day 11 if you are no longer showing symptoms.

If you are asymptomatic, you can return to work on day 11 after receiving your test result; however, if you start to display symptoms you must self-isolate for a further 10 days after the symptoms started.


Should my household self-isolate if I test positive?

Yes, all members of your household should self-isolate for 10 days.


Someone I support has tested positive, how long should they self-isolate for?

The person should self-isolate for 14 days unless advised otherwise by your Health Protection Team (HPT).

If the person is showing symptoms of COVID-19, then their self-isolation period should be 14 days from the date they first showed symptoms.

If the person is asymptomatic, then they should self-isolate for 14 days from the date they took the test.


For more information please visit the following Government guidance pages: