Self-isolation payments and fines

05 October 2020

It has been confirmed that, from 28 September 2020, individuals required to self-isolate could receive a payment of £500 if they are on lower incomes, and cannot work from home, which has resulted in a decrease to their income. Similarly, new fines were introduced, starting at £1,000, for anyone who breaks self-isolation rules.

The fines for breaching self-isolation rules are in alignment with the penalties associated with breaking quarantine following travel from another country and can increase to a maximum of £10,000 for those who persistently offend, and for the most flagrant offences. This includes the act of stopping others from self-isolating, and an example of this would be where an employer threatens staff who are self-isolating with redundancy if they do not attend work.

In order to ensure compliance with the rules, a number of measures will be put into place:

  • NHS Test and Trade call handlers will make regular contact with anyone who is self-isolating, and will liaise with the Local Authorities and police in any suspicious cases
  • Police resources will be used to check compliance in areas where the rate of coronavirus cases is high, and also in high-risk groups, based on local intelligence
  • High-profile and extreme cases of non-compliance will be investigated, and prosecutions made, where applicable
  • In scenarios where third parties have identified those who have tested positive, but are not self-isolating, action will be taken

A Test and Trace Support payment of £500 will be made to those individuals who are on lower incomes. Those who are in receipt of benefits in England, so approximately four million people, will be eligible for this payment, which was made available from 28 September 2020. It is hoped that Local Authorities will be able to set up these schemes quickly, so that they will be in place by 12 October 2020. Anyone who began self-isolation from 28 September 2020 will receive backdated payments once the scheme has been set up in their Local Authority.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said:

“The best way we can fight this virus is by everyone following the rules and self-isolating if they’re at risk of passing on coronavirus. And so nobody underestimates just how important this is, new regulations will mean you are legally obliged to do so if you have the virus or have been asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines. We need to do all we can to control the spread of this virus, to prevent the most vulnerable people from becoming infected, and to protect the NHS and save lives.

And while most people are doing their absolute level best to comply with the rules, I don’t want to see a situation where people don’t feel they are financially able to self-isolate.

That’s why we’re also introducing a new £500 Test and Trace Support payment for those on low incomes who are required by NHS Test and Trace to remain at home to help stop the spread of the virus.”


The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication. For all the latest information, news and resources on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting payroll professions, visit our Coronavirus hub.