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Test and Trace

Last Updated: 11 December 2020

What’s test and trace?

As part of plans to reduce infections of Coronavirus, systems have been introduced to track people who test positive for Coronavirus and trace those who they have been in contact with. If you are contacted through the system, you will be asked to self-isolate for 10 days even if you do not have any symptoms.

Who will have to self-isolate?

Contacts of someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus will be called by NHS Test and Trace contact tracers and asked to self-isolate for 10 days from the time of their contact with an infected person.

A contact is anyone who has been within two metres of an infected person for a period of 15 mins or longer, which may include work colleagues.

Contacts will have to self-isolate even if they don’t have symptoms themselves.

Will people who are asked to self-isolate be paid?

If you remain well whilst self-isolating, your employer can ask you to work from home if it is practicable to do so. This may include finding alternative work.

If it is not possible to do your job at home, your employer must ensure you receive at least Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), and should give you the option of using paid leave days if you prefer. You are entitled to at least SSP for every day that you are in self-isolation, providing you meet eligibility conditions.

Usdaw is currently seeking assurances from employers that those that have been paying full-pay to employees that have been self-isolating, continue to do so if staff are asked to self-isolate due to Test and Trace.

What if I’m asked to cover a shift of a colleague who is self-isolating?

If you are asked to cover a shift, all company policies still apply, including any provisions for voluntary overtime, and working in different stores/locations.

How will I know whether I’ve been contacted by an official contact tracer?

There are concerns that scammers may use the Test and Trace program to carry out financial fraud and identity theft.

Members should note that official contract tracers will:
  • Call you from 0300 013 5000 (In England)
  • Send you text messages from ‘NHS’
  • Ask for your full name and date of birth to confirm your identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating
  • Ask if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms
  • Provide advice on what you must do as you have been in contract with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.
They will never:
  • Ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to use (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • Ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product of any kind
  • Ask for any details about your bank account
  • Ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • Ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
  • Disclose any of your personal or medical information to your contacts
  • Provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential coronavirus symptoms
  • Ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
  • Ask you to access any website that does not belong to the Government or NHS

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