From 8th June, the UK introduced the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days upon return from most overseas travel. The requirement to self-isolate requires those entering the country to remain at their address for 14 days. The requirement is mandatory and those who fail to comply will commit a criminal offence.
These rules will have practical implications for both Employers and Employees. To raise awareness of these new requirements, I recommend that you communicate with your Employees now to raise awareness, manage their expectations around pay during travel quarantine and discuss travel plans with them.
What do I pay Employees during travel quarantine?
Where it is possible for Employees to work from home during a period of mandatory travel quarantine, this should be facilitated, and they should receive full pay during the quarantine period.
Where an Employee cannot work from home, there is not currently an automatic entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) during travel quarantine. The entitlement to SSP only applies if:
- the Employee tests positive for COVID-19 or has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 or
- the Employee has COVID-19 symptoms, lives with someone with symptoms, is shielding due to an underlying medical condition, or has been told to self-isolate via a notification from the Test and Trace system.
Where an Employee is required to quarantine following travel, and where working from home is not possible and no SSP entitlement is triggered, it may be appropriate to agree the time spent in quarantine is treated as unpaid leave (not ideal I know).
Alternatively, if the Employee has sufficient annual leave remaining, they may choose to take a longer period of annual leave to cover their quarantine.
Or the Employer could serve notice under Regulation 15 Working Time Regulations 1998 to require the Employee to use annual leave. But double notice rule will apply; the Employer would need to give a month’s notice for the Employee to take two weeks’ leave.
Individual Travel Plans:
It is sensible to communicate with staff now in order to discuss individual travel plans. Annual leave may already be booked, in which case employers can ask staff to inform them of international travel plans. The approval process for future annual leave requests could include a conversation about travel plans and how any quarantine period would be treated.
Communicating your organisational approach or policy as early as possible to all of your Employees is key to avoiding spending unnecessary time and effort explaining things after the event.