Coronavirus employee testing programmes - guidance for employers

Support provided by Scottish Government

What does this involve?

The Scottish Government has published guidance for employers in Scotland who are using private labs to run asymptomatic COVID-19 testing programmes for their workforce. This guidance sets out the legal obligations and best practice employers should follow to ensure both new and existing testing programmes are as reliable and effective as possible.

The Scottish Government sees asymptomatic testing as a way of protecting the vulnerable and reducing the risks of COVID-19 outbreaks in high-risk settings. However, it is not intended to replace the Test and Protect contact tracing system for individuals who are showing coronavirus symptoms.

The guidance covers:

  • the legislation, regulations and guidance for employers and third-party healthcare providers
  • virus detection testing (PCR and antigen), as well as antibody testing
  • things to consider before starting testing
  • communicating with staff
  • how to interpret test results and what the next steps should be after a positive or negative test
  • the framework in place for employers using non-NHS laboratories to interlink with NHS services on service provision and data flows
    links to related guidance

This guidance does not:

  • replace the need for independent legal advice and it does not supersede existing legal obligations, including those relating to health and safety, the Public Health Etc (Scotland) Act 2008, employment law, data protection or equalities
  • cover temperature checks or the use of thermal cameras as a means of testing staff, as the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) does not consider this effective
  • excuse employers from following the broader national measures in place and any specific regional or local requirements – for example:
    • following the guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19) protective measures in the workplace
    • referring staff to the Test and Protect service which offers testing to anyone with symptoms – Test and Protect advice for employers is available from the Scottish Government
    • supporting staff to self-isolate if they or a household member have symptoms of, or have tested positive for, COVID-19 or if they are advised to do so by Test and Protect
    • following the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance on staff safety and conducting risk assessments

Am I eligible?

Anyone can use this service.

What does this cost?

This is a free service.

Who is this for?

Employers in Scotland who are currently running, or thinking of setting up, asymptomatic COVID-19 testing programmes for their staff through private labs.

How long does this take?

It will take around 30 minutes to read the full guidance.

Important information

Private asymptomatic testing is not alternative to Test and Protect for any individuals who display symptoms of Covid-19.

This guidance applies to Scotland only. It will be updated on an ongoing basis, so check back to make sure you have the most current version.

Next steps

Visit the Scottish Government website to read the full guidance.

Support provided by Scottish Government

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