Covid-19: Travel abroad and compulsory quarantine – How do employers manage this?

Schools have broken up for summer holidays and more employees are now venturing out and going abroad. Already we are seeing signs of further coronavirus related issues for employers.

The first big challenge has been triggered by the government’s sudden decision to impose 14-day quarantine on those returning from Spain.This has implications for employees who are currently in Spain on holiday, or are due to go on holiday there. There are concerns that other countries might be treated in the same way as Spain as fears of a second wave in Europe build.

We thought it would be helpful to provide some guidance on the issues that this might give rise to for employers.

We have set out a summary of an employee’s entitlement to pay when undertaking compulsory self-isolation after returning to the UK from abroad. 

Cause of absenceEntitlement to pay
Compulsory 14-day self-isolation after returning to the UK from abroadIf the employee is unwell:

They will be entitled to their usual sick leave and sick pay in accordance with their contract or under the statutory sick pay provisions (SSP). If the employee is fit to work:

There is no right to SSP if the employee is fit to work (but can’t work from home). Employee can work from home:

If the employee can work remotely then they would be entitled to receive their usual pay. Employee is fit but cannot work from home:
If the employee is not sick but is unable to work from home, there is no entitlement to pay unless they are entitled to any under their contract. If travel was work-related then the entitlement may be different.
Absence from work due to being stuck abroad
If the employee can work remotely from abroad with agreement, then they would be entitled to pay. If not able to work, then there is no entitlement to pay. If travel was work-related then the entitlement may be different.

As there are many variables in play now with Covid-19, we suggest you seek legal advice if you are at all unsure about an employee’s right to pay.

Our employment team is on hand to advise you with your employment law needs so please do get in touch if we can be of assistance.


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