22 Jul

As we move into our new version of normal, many are starting to feel that the pandemic we have endured is under some sort of control and we are all more than ready to move forward with our lives. Or so we thought, as the pandemic packs its bags, we seem to have filled it's space with the aptly-named PINGdemic. Here's the lowdown on what it actually means and how you can manage it in your workplace?

Ping-demic - What is it?

The phrase has come into our vocabulary as a play on from the pandemic as positive cases of Covid-19 are increasing, so are the numbers of people being 'pinged' by the NHS Track and Trace app. These numbers have dramatically increased in the last couple of weeks adding a new pressure to the countries employers as their returning workforces are being forced back home to isolate.

Once 'pinged' those individuals are required to self-isolate for a period of 10 days from the contact they had with the positive tester.

The app

The app is operated by the NHS Track and Trace service, users can log details of their symptoms and access up to date information about managing their symptoms and rules on their isolation. As it stands, not everyone in the country has the app downloaded, either through choice or not having a suitable device to use it on. There has also been some speculation around the app connecting to nearby people and prompting unnecessary pings.

As an employer, you  may face some difficulty is mandating use of the app although for health and safety reasons, it is a good idea to encourage and recommend its use.

Is it illegal to ignore a 'ping'?

This has been a question we have faced a number of times, there has been some confusion as to whether a 'ping' counts as being contacted by NHS Track and Trace.

A 'ping' is classed as contact from NHS Track and Trace therefore ignoring instruction to isolate could come with consequences for the individual such as a fine. For employers, if you require an employee to work, when they have been instructed to isolate, you too, risk being fined.

Vaccinated Employees

At the moment, the isolation requirements apply to everyone and there are no exceptions for those who have been fully vaccinated, however, it has been widely documented that from 16th August that this is set to change.

From the 16th August, adults who have been fully vaccinated will not be required to complete the full isolation period following close contact, as an employer, you should consider your policy on how you will be able to confirm the status of your employee's vaccinations if you plan to collect this data.

Employee's vaccination history is classified as 'special' data.

Need some help?

Tribe HR & Recruitment Services are a revolutionary outsourced agency based in the heart of Yorkshire. We are here to support the core operations of your business, helping it flourish with high quality advice and allowing you the peace of mind that you have qualified experts on hand to support in all aspects of employee management. Contact our team today to see how we could help you.

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