Can an employer instruct an employee who may be at risk of having contracted coronavirus not to come to work?

Employers are under a duty to ensure the health and safety of all their employees and to provide a safe place and system of work. In light of this, and the serious implications if the coronavirus (COVID-19) is contracted and spread in the workplace, an employer would be justified in instructing an employee with the symptoms associated with the coronavirus not to attend work, to seek advice from NHS 111 and not return to work until the symptoms have cleared.

In relation to an employee who does not have the symptoms associated with the coronavirus, but who has recently travelled to an affected region, or has been in contact with someone who has, or with an infected person, the employer can check guidance from the relevant public health body on whether or not it is necessary on risk grounds to ask such people not to attend work. It is open to the employer to agree with the employee that they will work from home or return to work only if they do not develop symptoms during the relevant period.

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