29 March 2021
The Government has decided to make rapid home testing available for all businesses with over 10 employees who cannot offer on-site testing due to a lack of space or because they operate across multiple sites.
Firms must register an interest in doing so by 12 April to access free tests and, so far, more than 60,000 have already signed up to providing regular and rapid tests for employees.
Self-test kits will be picked up by staff from their employer with clear instructions about how to take the test. Staff will then complete the home test in the normal way, before reporting their results to the NHS using the provided GOV.UK address.
Employees should advise their employer of a positive result and take a confirmatory PCR test in that case.
Employers with fewer than 10 people can alternatively access regular testing through the community testing programme, which is now offered by all local authorities in England.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Rapid testing is a vital part of our roadmap, helping us to cautiously lift restrictions on our economy and society. Around one in three people with coronavirus do not have any symptoms, so extending employee testing from the workplace to the home will help us identify more cases we otherwise wouldn’t find, prevent further transmission and save lives.”
Even if they are not yet open or are not able to start using the tests straight away, businesses are still being encouraged to register before the deadline in order to access free tests until the end of June.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has welcomed the announcement and said that it would encourage all businesses who are eligible to sign up for free tests to do so.