July 27, 2020
Employees don’t get SSP when they self-isolate after travelling. The quarantine rules are creating financial issues for both employees and employers.
What if an employee is currently in Spain and has to self-isolate on their return?
Over the weekend the Government changed the guidance on travel from Spain to the UK, all non-essential travel is no longer permitted and anyone travelling from Spain the to UK must isolate for 14 days. Employers don’t have to pay employees if they’re isolating as a consequence of travelling to Spain.
If the employee is not able to work from home and they’re not working then they will not be entitled to salary.
Does an employee get SSP for the isolation period?
No, an employee is not entitled to SSP for isolating after travel to a country which the Government has advised against.
SSP is only available where an employee is sick or has to isolate due to a family member showing symptoms.
Can employees work from home during the self isolation period?
Yes, provided they are fit and healthy to work and they are able to work from home then employees can continue to work from home during their isolation period.
What if my employee requests annual leave to travel to Spain or any other country which is not on the Government “travel corridor” list?
If the employee is requesting annual leave to attend a country which would require them to isolate on their return, they will need to request annual leave to cover the isolation period as well as the amount of time they are spending in the foreign country. Therefore for a two week holiday in Spain or Portugal, they will need to request 4 weeks annual leave if they are unable to work from home.
This poses a number of issues as employees are unlikely to have 20 days holiday remaining, as you must take into account annual leave required for the Christmas break. This also raises an issue with the level of staff required to run the business, if employees are taking 4 weeks annual leave this will leave the workforce short.
Can I furlough an employee who requests a holiday or has to isolate due to a holiday in Spain?
This depends on whether the employee has been furloughed prior to 10 June 2020, the Government cut off date. If they have and you are able to have them absent from the work place, then this is a viable option for a company to explore. There is no longer the requirement to furlough an employee for a full 3 weeks and therefore they can be furloughed for the 2 week isolation period.
Can I discipline my employee for going to a country which requires isolation?
If an employee only requests annual leave for their period of travel and not the isolation period and then they do not appear for work after the annual leave has run out, yes. The employee is technically AWOL and therefore can be subject to disciplinary proceedings. It would be difficult for an employee to challenge this given the clear Government guidelines on holiday destinations.
What if an employee shows symptoms or becomes unwell?
At this point, the employee should follow government guidance and perhaps will be required to isolate for a longer period. Where they are required to isolate for longer than the 14 day period, they can get a sicknote from 111 and will be eligible for SSP.
What if an employee shows up to work and refuses to self isolate?
There is an issue of whether due to the lack of pay employees will have no choice but to show up to work. If this is the case then you should not allow employees into the workplace if you are aware that they are not abiding by the rules of isolation. It is important to remember your duty of care to all of your employees.