Whilst we are seeing some employers welcoming the relaxation of COVID-19 rules and a return to some form of “normality”, many are concerned by the lack of immediate workplace guidance, which we understand will not be published until 1 April 2022. 
This creates a place of uncertainty, and the potential for views to differ, which may lead to a rise in employee grievances, as we all adjust. 
Employers should take the opportunity to review their policies and procedures, and consider: 
How will the relaxation of the rules affect your existing hybrid and home working policies? 
Will you require employees who are COVID-19 positive, but who are not too ill to work, to work from home (how long for?) or to come into the workplace? 
If an employee follows government advice and stays at home whilst COVID-19 positive, will they be entitled to SSP only? Or will you offer enhanced sick pay/full pay? 
Will you ask employees to continue testing? And if so, will you provide lateral flow tests for employees once these are no longer freely available? 
How will you handle clinically vulnerable employees who are unhappy about working near to colleagues who are positive with COVID-19? 
How will you monitor and enforce compliance with any COVID-19 policies? 
How will your risk assessments need to change? 
Summary and timeline of changes 
From today: 
The legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test ends. Adults and children who test positive will continue to be advised to stay at home for at least five days. 
The legal requirement for individuals to tell employers when they are required to self-isolate ends. 
Close contacts who are fully vaccinated, and those under 18, will no longer be recommended to test daily for seven days. 
Close contacts who are not fully vaccinated will no longer be legally required to self-isolate. 
Routine contact tracing of close contact ends. 
Self-isolation support payments end. 
From 24 March 2022: 
The rules allowing payment of SSP from day one of an absence relating to COVID-19 end. Pre pandemic SSP rules will apply. 
From 1 April 2022: 
Free lateral flow testing ends. 
Current guidance on voluntary COVID-status certification and the recommendation that certain venues use the NHS COVID Pass end. 
The health and safety requirement for every employer to explicitly consider COVID-19 in their risk assessments ends. 
Existing ‘Working Safely’ guidance will be replaced with new public health guidance. 
Updated guidance will set out steps that people with COVID-19 should take to minimise contact with other people. 
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