Monkeypox – What employers need to know

Following the pandemic, it’s not surprising that the announcement of cases of Monkeypox rising in the UK, are causing concerns to employees and employers alike. 

With a current isolation period of 21 days for confirmed cases it is posing a challenge to employers, especially those who are unable to offer a work from home option. If the employee is well enough to work, you could consider offering other tasks for them to complete from home. 

If your employee is poorly, then the SSP process would be followed for a minimum of 21 days as per the current guidance. The virus isn’t as contagious as something like Covid 19, in fact there is deemed a low risk of community transmission. 

What you need to know: 

Symptoms include a fever, headache, swelling to head and neck, back pain, and whilst its transmission is classed as low risk, it’s still a nasty and unpleasant virus to catch. 

Recovery is expected in full by those who have contracted the virus, it’s a very rare but not new virus and so there are treatments available to patients. 

Contacts of positive cases are also asked to isolate for 21 days (although not a legal requirement yet). This is in the case of when they have a high-risk environmental contact or unprotected contact with a confirmed case. It’s advisable that as an employer to review this in line with any process you have in place already for self-isolation cases. A review can be made on a case-by-case basis with protection in place for those who are pregnant, immune-compromised or any role that is performed in a confined space with little ventilation. 

In any of these cases it’s advisable to look and communicate all options available to employees including working from home, sick pay, isolated work environments and the safety of all other employees.