Self-employed ‘left in the lurch’ as Ministers reject self-isolation exemption extension
NHS app figures show 618,903 people were told to self isolate
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Test and Trace has forced thousands of people to self-isolate in recent weeks, with recent data showing a record 618,903 people were told to isolate by the NHS coronavirus app in the week to July 15. The dramatic rise forced the Government to take action but the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has warned more needs to be done.
From August 16, those with two vaccine doses will be able to leave isolation early if they produce a negative test and work in certain industries such as supermarkets or food producers.
However, IPSE is calling for the Government to bring this forward and expand its list of exempt industries to include double-vaccinated people in self-employed dominated sectors such as construction, building trades and transport drivers.
Derek Cribb, the CEO of IPSE, commented on the need for this extension.
Mr Cribb said: “The government’s narrow self-isolation exemptions list yet again leaves freelancers and the self-employed in the lurch.
“Although it is understandable that the Government has focused on critical industries, it has failed to account for people’s working conditions and the fact that for many self-employed people, being told to isolate can be a financial catastrophe.
“From plumbers to construction workers, many of the UK’s self-employed cannot work from home: isolation can therefore mean up to 10 days of lost earnings and delays to projects.
“Freelancers have felt the worst of the financial impact of the pandemic – especially the up to one million who were left entirely without support. For many of them, therefore, the fact that the Government has let them fall through the cracks again will be a serious blow.
“We urge the Government to consider the damage the enormous and growing number of self-isolation orders is doing to many self-employed people.
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“If it cannot bring the test and release system forward, we urge the Government to extend the list of exemptions for double vaccinated people to include self-employed-dominated industries such as construction and business trades.”
Despite these calls, The Times has reported Ministers have ruled out extending the list of workers exempt from self-isolation.
There is evidence that workers across the UK are already adapting their behaviour to avoid being “pinged”.
Recently, CV-Library ran a survey of over 1,300 UK professionals to ascertain how many workers have been affected by isolation since Freedom Day and how British people are changing their behaviour to avoid isolation.
The results showed more than a third (39.9 percent) of workers know someone that has been unable to return to work due to being required to isolate in the last four days, with a “whopping” 69.8 percent of isolation cases were notified via the Covid-19 app.
Lee Biggins, the CEO and founder of CV-Library, commented on these results.
Mr Biggins said: “Keeping staff safe should be the highest priority for employers across the country.
“However, such huge disruptions to staffing will cause countless problems for the recovery of the UK economy. Many businesses will have to reduce operating hours – or in some cases, close – as capacity will be lower, hindering a much-needed recovery over the summer.”
The survey found 50 percent of professionals were concerned about having to isolate themselves. Nearly 13 percent of employees were concerned that isolation would interfere with their work, 8.6 percent were concerned it would interfere with personal plans and 28.4 percent were worried it would interfere with both.
As a result, one in three people (34.4 percent) have changed their current behaviours to avoid isolation.
This includes cancelling plans with friends and even keeping school children at home until the end of term. A significant portion (32.1 percent) of respondents did this so they could still go on holiday in the coming weeks.
Mr Biggins concluded: “It’s no surprise that isolation is so concerning for professionals. All of us are eager to get back to normal and enjoy meeting with friends and family – especially in this lovely weather – but 10 days of isolation could cause financial hardship for many families and ruin summer plans as schools break up. We encourage employers to offer as much support as possible to staff members that are forced to isolate.”
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