Up to 20% of staff absent from companies after being “pinged” by the Covid application Business News

Businesses are missing up to 20% of staff who have been forced to self-isolate after being ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid app, business groups have warned.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus is causing staff shortages for UK businesses, with more than 700 workers at Nissan’s Sunderland plant reportedly self-isolating after entire teams were sent home.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick admitted government was “concerned” about number of people on work stoppage following app notification, as industry bosses call for easing self-isolation rules.

Those who received a double hit will no longer be required to self-isolate for 10 days from August 16, but business groups want this to be sped up until July 19, to coincide with the lifting of most lock restrictions.

Stephen Phipson, managing director of the manufacturers body Make UK, told the Financial Time the “need to isolate, even without symptoms, is now a serious problem affecting production”.

He told the newspaper: “In some cases, up to 20% of the workforce is now isolated.

“The government must review the August date as an immediate priority as the situation is likely to worsen with the lifting of restrictions next week.”

Richard Walker, chief executive of Iceland Foods, said social distancing restrictions ending before self-isolation rules are relaxed will be “a *** show for business.”

He said in a tweet that Covid-related absences were “increasing exponentially” and would be at their “highest level” within a week or two.

One in five street workers are currently on sick leave due to government pandemic tracing rules, and the situation could worsen, hospitality and retail bosses have warned.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the UKHospitality business group, said the companies had predicted that a third of the staff could isolate themselves soon.

“We have one in five isolated reception staff, and we have particular concerns because around 60% of our staff are under 30,” she told the commercial, energy and industrial strategy committee.

“The changes to allow double-vaccinated people to avoid isolation will not be physically implemented until September, as the workforce will not have been able to receive their second vaccine by then.

“For many of our small businesses, if you lose one or two of your employees, you don’t have enough people to open at all, and that obviously has huge ramifications. “

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said there was a similar proportion of absences from store workers due to isolation rules.

“We are seeing vacancy rates of around 20%,” she told MPs.

“And only part of it directly concerns people with Covid – a lot is the indirect consequence of having to isolate, regardless of tests or whether one has had two vaccines.

“I think it’s an immediate problem that comes with the lifting of the restrictions.”

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This notice was published: 2021-07-15 09:19:19

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