QUARANTINE AND EMPLOYMENT – THE RULES

Quarantine holiday

Currently all people coming into the UK, bar a short list of exemptions, must complete an online locator form to supply contact details, travel details and the address of where they will self-isolate for 14 days.

Risk of Fines

Home Secretary Priti Patel told Parliament that passengers that there may be regular random checks throughout this quarantine period to ensure compliance; breaching self-isolation is punishable by a £1000 fixed penalty notice (FPN) in England or potential prosecution and an unlimited fine.  The level of fine could increase if the risk of infection from abroad increases, she warned; failure to complete the required form will be punishable by a £100 FPN. 

The new rules do not apply those travelling from within the common travel area (CTA) in Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, unless they have arrived in the CTA from overseas within the last 14 days.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that ‘no worker should be penalised by their employer because they are following quarantine guidance’. 

Organisations who currently have employees in Spain or its islands should get in touch with them on their return; ensuring that they understand the need to self-isolate and to agree with them how the absence will be covered when SSP is not applicable. 

Exemptions

The list of people exempt from the new requirements include: 

Road haulage and road passenger transport workers; a registered health or care professional travelling to the UK to provide essential healthcare; qualified persons and responsible persons for human medicines, clinical trials and pharmacovigilance; and workers engaged in certain essential or emergency works.

Options for employees

If employees can work from home, this is likely to be the most favourable option. 

If this isn’t possible, organisations may consider:

  • Full pay
  • Paying the equivalent rate of SSP (this cannot be claimed back from the SSP Rebate Scheme)
  • Contractual sick pay
  • Agreeing further annual leave
  • Enforce annual leave by giving the required amount of notice (double the length of the holiday being enforced)
  • A period of unpaid leave

Organisations need to ensure that employees don’t work if they should not and do whatever they can to support their employees and government and stop the spread of Coronavirus.

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