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Holiday quarantine rules and employment law guide for employers

View profile for Susan Mayall
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Employers with staff returning from a holiday in quarantine restricted countries now face the whole host of employment law issues as staff have to self-isolate.

With Spain recently added to the list and other popular destinations such as Greece and France braced for potential changes to the air bridge ruling the carefree two weeks in the sun is now proving to be a big headache for employees and employers.

Will I be entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) returning from a holiday?

Advice from the Government is that employees are not entitled to statutory sick pay if they’re self-isolating after returning to the UK, but at the same time the Government is asking employers to be flexible and not penalise their staff for following the 14 day quarantine rules.  In reality that could mean taking an extra 2 weeks holiday to cover quarantine, or unpaid leave meaning no income for 2 weeks.

“There is no automatic entitlement to statutory sick pay for the quarantine period when staff members have to self-isolate, obviously if an employee can work from home remotely, as many have been doing for months, this is not a problem, but for those who need to be in the workplace this is a major issue for both employees and employers alike,” said Susan Mayall, Head of Employment Law at Pearson Solicitors.”

“The decision to include Spain at the weekend took many by surprise but businesses can to some extent get policies in place now for the rest of summer of 2020, at least then staff know the risks they face if they opt for a holiday in a quarantine zone. 

“Some employers could cancel leave (within the appropriate time periods) if an extended period of absence by a staff member would be detrimental to their company, but I would say this is a very extreme circumstance and hopefully could be resolved in a more amicable way,” she added.

Employment Rights, Quarantine and Self-Isolation:

  • Employees are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay for self-isolation period, but it can be paid at the employer’s discretion.
  • Annual leave may be requested to cover quarantine (14 days).
  • Employers could put the staff member on furlough for the quarantine period, however the employee would have to have been furloughed for at least 3 weeks prior to 10th June
  • Working from home can continue if applicable.
  • Unpaid leave

“Communication with staff is essential during these unprecedented times,” advised Susan.  “I would urge employers to see if anything can be done at all to accommodate those staff caught out by the travel chaos, but if you are self-employed there is limited help available.”

For advice on any employment law related issues or for advice if your business has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic call 0161 785 3500 or enquires@pearsonlegal.co.uk

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.