Adults and children will be free to return to work, attend school, and meet friends and family as the protection from vaccines replaces the need for contact isolation from Monday 16 August.

From Monday 16 August, people who are double jabbed or aged under 18 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. The change was announced last month, as part of step 4 of the government’s COVID-19 roadmap. With 75% of people having received both doses of the vaccine, the majority of adults will no longer need to self-isolate if they are contacts.

As of Monday, double-jabbed individuals and under 18s who are identified as close contacts by NHS Test and Trace will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible to check if they have the virus and for variants of concern. People can order a PCR home test online or by calling 119, or going to a test site.

As double-jabbed people identified as close contacts are still at risk of being infected, people are advised to consider other precautions such as wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, and limit contact with other people, especially with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable. They will not be required to self-isolate while they wait for the results of the PCR test.

Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status or age in order to break onward chains of transmission. Meanwhile anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and get a PCR test, and remain in isolation until the result comes back.

Summary: The House Rules

  • If you develop symptoms, you must self-isolate and take a PCR test
  • If you are contact traced and not fully vaccinated, you must legally self-isolate
  • If you are instructed to self-isolate, you must inform your employer
  • If you are double vaccinated, none of the above apply but you should continue to take caution, social distance, use of facemasks and follow government guidelines

→ Business Q&A

Your COVID status is special category data, as it is your private health information. Your employer’s reason for checking or recording your COVID status must be clear, necessary and transparent. If they cannot specify a use for this information and are recording it on a ‘just in case’ basis, or if they can achieve their goal without collecting this data, they are unlikely to be able to justify asking for it.

No, they must let you know if they are legally required to self-isolate. They can be fined if they fail to do this. If they are exempt from self-isolation as a contact because they are fully vaccinated, then no action is needed. Employers are not expected to check their workers’ vaccination status. However, if a worker informs you that they are under a legal duty to self-isolate, then you must not ask them to come into work.

It is up to workers to inform their employers if they are under a legal duty to self-isolate. If they fail to do so – including falsely claiming they are not required to self-isolate – then they can be fined. They may also be subject to your usual disciplinary processes.

Individuals who are fully vaccinated can still choose to self-isolate if they have close contact with a positive case. However, you will not necessarily be eligible for financial (such as statutory sick pay) or practical support while self-isolating. If you are employed, then depending on the specific circumstances, your employer may require you to continue to come into work if you are exempt from self-isolation.

If you are not legally required to self-isolate, then your employer may require you to continue to come into work, depending on specific circumstances.

From Monday 16 August those who are fully vaccinated or under 18 years of age and identified as a contact will not need to self- isolate; including if they have received a notification from the app. Instead, they will be advised to get tested. The app is being updated to reflect this and signpost people to testing.

For users who have not been fully vaccinated yet, it is recommended that they continue to follow the app’s advice to self-isolate, as they are at risk of having and spreading the virus.