Social distancing rules relaxation and what they mean

New rules on self-isolation, social distancing and the payment of statutory sick pay (SSP) came into force yesterday.

From Monday 6 July, the following is in effect.

Household ‘bubbles’

Individuals from two separate households can form a bubble and treat themselves as one household with no social distancing. In England, this is called a ‘linked’ household whilst in Wales and Scotland, this is known as an ‘extended household group’.

In England and Scotland, this applies to adults living alone or single parents with children under the age of 18. In Wales, any two households can link.

The impact of this is that if anyone in that linked/extended household develops symptoms or tests positive, then all people in the linked/extended household should self-isolate for 14 days. In this situation, organisations will need to consider how to manage this period of self-isolation, such as asking staff to work from home or take annual leave.

If no other arrangement is possible, they will need to pay those who are self-isolating SSP from day one of their absence.

SSP and shielding 

The rules on the provision of SSP for those who are ‘shielding’ now apply again if someone gets another shielding letter after the period in the initial letter has concluded, which is 31 July in England and Scotland and no earlier than 16 August in Wales. For example, this would be the case if there is a second wave of infections, meaning those who have previously shielded need to do so again.

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