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Unvaccinated Cheshire East Council staff who take time off work to self-isolate as a close contact of a Covid-19 case won’t be classed as being off sick, writes Belinda Ryan.

From yesterday (August 16), people who are double jabbed or aged under 18 are no longer legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case.

Instead, they are encouraged to get a PCR test.

But those over 18 years old who have not had both jabs will still have to self-isolate.

It has been reported that one North West council is considering changing its policy so any self-isolation because of close contact with a positive Covid-19 case would be counted as sickness absence.

Cheshire East has told the Local Democracy Reporting Service it has no current plans to change its policy.

A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said: “The health and safety of our staff is paramount to us.

“We have been working hard to promote the information and facts about the coronavirus vaccines to both our staff and local community.

“We are actively encouraging all our staff to have the vaccine so that they are not only protecting themselves and their families, but also protecting the delivery of our key front line services.

“Where possible we support any members of staff who are self-isolating to work from home.

“Staff who are required to self-isolate and are unable to work from home, are recorded as ‘self-isolating’.

“A sickness absence is only recorded when an employee reports as unfit for work.

“There are no current plans to change our policy and approach to this.”

The government says anyone who tests positive following a PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status or age.

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