Businesses that are based in England, with 10 or more employees who cannot work from home are now able to order free rapid lateral flow COVID-19 tests.

Eligible employers must register their interest by 12 April. Businesses that are currently closed should still register their interest if they wish to access the tests in the future.

The scheme is available for employers that do not provide on-site workplace testing. Employers that register their interest will be able to order tests for employees to complete at home. Any employee who has COVID-19 symptoms must stay at home and should arrange for a free PCR test to check for coronavirus. The lateral flow tests supplied via the scheme are not to be used where the person has symptoms.

The statutory duty to risk assess the workplace requires employers to take appropriate measures to eliminate or reduce risks. The wider availability of testing could significantly protect your employees and companies are being encouraged to give proper consideration to taking up this opportunity as part as part of their ongoing COVID-19 policies, and health and safety practices.

Alternatively, employers may wish to rely on the current testing options open to them:

  • COMMUNITY TESTING: Employers with fewer than 50 employers can access community testing, available at test sites set up by local authorities. Check your local council’s website for details of test centres
  • EMPLOYER-LED: Employers can set-up their own on-site testing. Further guidance on setting up your own workplace testing programme is available here
  • THIRD-PARTY PROVIDER: Employers can use a private provider to organise and run on-site testing on their behalf for a fee. Details of providers are available here

You can find further details on the scheme and register to take part here.

If you have any further questions on this or any other HR matters, please get in touch with Vivienne Tolley, HR Services Director.