PCR tests not needed after positive lateral flow

Covid testing rules are to be eased for people without symptoms, who will no longer need to confirm a positive lateral flow test with a PCR.

When do the rules change?

  • from 5 January in Northern Ireland
  • from Thursday 6 in Scotland and Wales
  • from Tuesday 11 January in England

Under the new guidance, anyone in England who receives a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result should report their result on gov.uk and must self-isolate immediately but will not need to take a follow-up PCR test.

After reporting a positive LFD test result, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace so that their contacts can be traced.

Anyone who tests positive and is full vaccinated, will be able to leave self-isolation seven days after the date of their initial positive test if they receive two negative lateral flow test results, 24 hours apart, on days six and seven.

It should be noted, that anyone who develops one of the three main Covid-19 symptoms – a new cough, a high temperature or a loss of taste or smell – should stay at home, self-isolate and take a PCR test.

Please find below a chart taken from the government website which illustrates some examples of isolation, which you may find useful. You can also find this here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Additional Financial Support

In our last mailer (22nd December 2021), we advised that Rishi Sunak has announced an additional £1bn in additional financial support for the hospitality and leisure sectors, in light of the struggles faced with the surge of the Omicron variant.

Further details have been released and the additional financial support means:

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

If you’re an employer with fewer than 250 employees, and you’ve paid Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to your employees for absences linked to coronavirus-related sickness or self-isolation, you could be eligible for support.

You will receive repayments at the relevant standard rate of SSP that you paid to your current or former employees for any eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 21 December 2021.

You will be able to reclaim the costs for up to two weeks of SSP for an employee who takes time off because of coronavirus, regardless of whether you claimed for that employee under the previous scheme.

You will be able to make claims retrospectively from mid-January. As yet, no date has been confirmed.

Hospitality and Leisure Grant

The Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant provides local councils with one-off grant funding to support hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses, in recognition that the rise of the Omicron variant means that some businesses are likely to struggle.

Eligibility

The aim of the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme is to support businesses:

  • that offer in-person services;
  • where the main service and activity takes place in a fixed rate-paying premises; and/or
  • in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors.

You cannot get funding if:

  • your business is in administration, insolvent or has been struck off the Companies House register;
  • you will exceed the permitted subsidy allowance; and/or
  • your business is not on the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) ratings list.

You must notify your local council if your situation changes and you no longer meet the eligibility criteria, for example, if you become insolvent.

Subsidy allowance

This scheme is covered by 3 possible subsidy allowances:

  • Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance – you’re allowed up to £335,000 (subject to exchange rates) in Small Amounts of Financial Assistance over any rolling period of 3 financial years;
  • COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance – under this allowance you’re allowed up to £1,900,000 across all COVID-19 Business Grant schemes;
  • COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance – if you have reached your limits under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance, you may be able to access a further allowance of funding under these scheme rules of up to £10,000,000 across all COVID-19 Business Grant schemes.

Grants under these 3 allowances can be combined for a potential total allowance of up to £12,235,000 (subject to exchange rates).

How to apply

Visit your local council’s website to find out how to apply: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council

Permanent digital system for right to work checks from April

Employers will be able to conduct digital checks of candidates’ right to work in the UK via a new permanent system from April 2022.

Since the pandemic struck in March 2020, organisations have been able to carry out digital checks of a person’s right to work in the UK, rather than having to check physical documents.

The regime was initially a temporary measure but following numerous extensions and support from employers and recruitment bodies, the Home Office has made the change permanent.

This change will help employers place workers in roles quickly and easily, especially when working remotely.

From 6 April 2022 employers will be able to use government-certified identification document validation technology (IDVT) to check British and Irish citizens’ right to work.

The cost of using the new system will have to be met by employers. This could vary from £1.45 to £70 per check.

These costs will only apply to checks conducted on UK nationals, as organisations will continue to be able to use existing free online services for overseas candidates.

Further information is expected to be provided by the Home Office at some point this month. We will provide regular updates as and when we receive them. In the meantime, if you have any questions about right to work in the UK checks such as what documents are accepted as evidence or how to verify them correctly, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Please note that this scheme is not compulsory and that there will still be the option to check documents in person should you prefer.

How Hallidays HR can help

If you would like to discuss any of the above in more detail, then please do not hesitate to contact us on 0161 476 8276 or email hr@hallidays.co.uk.