Last reviewed 3 March 2021

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has welcomed the fact that dozens of public and private sector employers are now offering rapid testing to those without Covid symptoms.

Organisations signed up to workplace testing include Royal Mail, Tate & Lyle Sugars, Primula, Octopus Energy and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

They have joined other businesses and public sector organisations in a scheme to test workers without symptoms who cannot work from home.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “With around one in three people not showing symptoms, testing those without symptoms is vital to breaking chains of transmission. By offering rapid testing in the workplace, we are offering additional peace of mind to those who are unable to work from home during the current lockdown”.

In addition to scaling up employer-led testing, targeted community testing is now being rolled out across all local authorities in England, with local authorities being encouraged to target testing to people who are unable to work from home.

With more than seven million test kits delivered to participating local authorities, there are now 156 councils involved in community testing programmes.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “I am pleased so many businesses have taken up the opportunity of rapid workplace testing. I would encourage even more to do so and to continue to follow our Covid-secure guidance as we pull together to protect our NHS and save lives”.

An estimated 734,600 lateral flow tests have been distributed across the public and private sector so far, helping workers who need to leave home for work during lockdown to continue to do so, while quickly identifying those who may be carrying the virus.

Comment by Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula

Since the start of the pandemic, employers have made efforts to make their workplace Covid-secure to ensure that staff health and wellbeing is safeguarded. It therefore comes as no surprise that businesses are getting involved with rapid testing.

The encouragement from the Government may see many more businesses making this move to complement the Covid-secure measures they will already have in place.