2nd Sep 2020

Guidance for employees self-isolating after returning to UK

The government has published new guidance for employees required to self-isolate for 14 days after returning to the UK, following the recent expansion of travel quarantine requirements.

The guidance states that, where possible, employees should work from home during their self-isolation period. If this is not possible, employees can agree with their employer to take leave to cover the period of self-isolation.

The guidance also suggests that employers should think carefully before dismissing an employee because they cannot work due to imposed self-isolation. Dismissal should be treated as a last resort and employers should consider alternative arrangements first, such as agreeing with employees to take annual leave (providing they enough leave remaining) or unpaid leave.

The guidance goes onto state that employers who dismiss an employee because they have had to self-isolate following travel abroad may be liable for unfair dismissal, and emphasises that employment tribunals will consider all relevant facts surrounding a dismissal, including the public health guidance on COVID-19.

However, the guidance is silent as to whether employees required to self-isolate in these circumstances will be entitled to any pay (or statutory sick pay) if they cannot work from home.

On the other hand, if the employee who has had to quarantine can work from home during their self-isolation, then they should be paid as normal.

Which countries does the new guidance apply to?

As the summer holidays comes to an end, the countries on the self-isolating list is regularly changing and usually at very short notice.  To keep up to date with the latest countries which are exempt (and on the “travel corridor”) and those which are not go to here here.

If any of your employees have been affected by the above, then get in touch and we can advise you  on your obligations and what to do next.

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