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We have created an information hub to support our Orange Genie Accountancy clients, our Umbrella Employees and agencies where the Covid-19 rules and legislation are explained for recruiters, contractors and the self-employed. Click here to find out more>>

A Covid19 Update for our Umbrella Company Employees

Umbrella Company

The Government have triggered “Plan B” in an attempt to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of the Covid19 virus in the UK, which means some of the restrictions we saw before “Freedom Day” have been reinstated. In this article we’re looking at what this means for our umbrella company employees.

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Why new restrictions have been introduced

The Omicron variant appears to spread much more rapidly that Delta, which at the time of writing is the dominant Covid19 variant in the UK. This may lead to an increase in the number of cases and hospitalisations, and there is a risk that this may overwhelm the NHS. Action is being taken to slow the spread, and hopefully to protect NHS services during what was always going to be a difficult winter.

The vaccine booster program

The Government has recently announced their intention to offer a vaccine booster to every adult in England before the new year, a timetable which some have described as “extremely ambitious”. The new variant does appear to be better able to bypass immunity, but the vaccines are still providing protection against the onset of severe symptoms. There is evidence that “boosted” individuals enjoy increased immunity, and all adults are advised to make their appointment as soon as they are able.

Working from home

The Government’s instruction to work from home if you’re able was reinstated from Monday 13th of December so we expect many of our umbrella company employees will now be working from home.

The “if you’re able” part of this instruction is important, and if you can’t work from home, either because your job can’t be done remotely, because you don’t have the necessary set up at home, or for other reasons such as mental health or security, you are still allowed to attend your client’s workplace. This will obviously depend on your client’s policy, which may change as the situation develops, so it’s important to maintain open lines of communication.

For those who are working from home, whether it’s the first time or you’re returning to the situation you were in last year, it’s a good idea to follow our best practice guide, to help you do so successfully and safely. You might also find our solutions to common problems helpful as you return to or set up your home office.

Wearing a mask

In England, face-coverings are now mandatory in in most indoor public spaces, and on public transport and in taxis.

Notable exceptions are:

  • Hospitality venues such as pubs, cafes and restaurants.
  • Exercise venues such as gyms, and dancing venues such as nightclubs.
  • Premises being used for events where the main activity is either eating, drinking or dancing.

Even in these exempt settings, the advice is to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into close contact with strangers. Check the official guidance for a detailed breakdown of when and where you must wear a face covering.

When you need to self-isolate

If you develop symptoms of Covid-19 you must self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test. Free PCR tests and a breakdown of when you might need one are available here.

The most important symptoms are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or they’ve changed

 You should continue to self-isolate while you wait for your test results, and if you test positive you should continue for 10 full days from the onset of your symptoms. This is required by law regardless of your vaccination status.

Contact with people who have tested positive

If you live in the same household or are a close contact of someone with Covid-19 you would usually need to self-isolate unless you’re fully vaccinated or you’re below the age of 18 years and six months.

If you live with or are a close contact of someone with a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant, you will be required to self-isolate regardless of your age or vaccination status. NHS Test and Trace will contact you if this is the case.

Re-testing after a positive test

If you’ve tested positive and completed your self-isolation, you would not usually need to re-test for 90 days unless:

  • you develop any new symptoms of COVID-19
  • you are a close contact of someone who has been identified as a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19
  • you are required to take a PCR test upon entry into the UK

If the PCR test result is positive, you must self-isolate again for 10 days from the onset of symptoms or when you took the positive test.

The Government has indicated their intention to replace self-isolation with daily testing for some contacts of people with Covid-19. Full details of this change have not yet been released.

Financial support

In addition to other support that may be available if you can’t work, those who are self-isolating may be entitles to a one-off Test and trace Support payment of £500. Check your local authority’s website for details. 

If you have any questions or if we can help in any way please call or expert team on 01296 468483 or email info@orangegenie.com.

 

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