Last reviewed 8 March 2021

Businesses of all sizes in England, including those with fewer than 50 employees, can now register to order free lateral flow tests for their employees.

They have until 31 March to register for the Government’s workplace testing scheme, which will remain free until the end of June. However, all those who can work from home should continue to do so.

Around one in three people with coronavirus do not have symptoms, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) explains, which means they could be spreading the virus in workplaces without knowing.

Rapid testing detects cases quickly — in under 30 minutes — meaning positive cases can isolate immediately, breaking chains of transmission.

Federation of Small Business (FSB) Chairman Mike Cherry said: “A workplace testing infrastructure that works for businesses of all sizes as well as consumers is fundamental to bringing the coronavirus under control and ensuring that this current lockdown is the last. It’s great to see that the smallest businesses can now apply to set-up testing facilities on their premises.”

The expansion of asymptomatic testing is already well underway in larger companies for those who need to leave home for work.

Both private and public sector employers have signed up to provide rapid testing at asymptomatic testing sites, along with a self-test option for those that cannot access a workplace testing site.

An online portal has been launched for businesses to find out more about offering rapid workplace testing. It includes links for advice on workplace testing in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In addition, all local authorities in England are now offering rapid lateral flow testing for small businesses if they cannot offer rapid workplace testing. Employers can find their local test site at GOV.UK.