Kate Brooks
Partner, Solicitor & Head of Employment/HR Services
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Date Published:19 Jul 2021 Last Updated:21 Jul 2021

Options for employee quarantine after travel

Employment Law Advice

What are the options for post travel quarantine and work?

We are getting asked a lot of questions about how to deal with employees who are required to quarantine after holidays.

The options are:

  1. Work from home – this is likely to be the most preferable but in some situations may not be possible.
  2. Paid holiday – if the worker has enough holiday entitlement, they may be able to tag some additional holiday on to cover the quarantine period. Both employer and employee would need to agree to this as it may equal a longer holiday than the employment contract allows for (most contracts say holidays should be no more than 2 weeks). In lots of situations, employees have lots of holiday so this may work well for both employer and employee.
  3. Unpaid leave – if the employee cannot work from home, and is not agreeable to taking holiday/does not have enough holidays to take, then the quarantine time may be unpaid.
  4. Any other type of special leave the employer can offer. For example, the employee will not be entitled to statutory sick pay or contractual sick pay, however the employer could choose to pay them sick pay at the same rate as SSP or a higher rate. Another option could be to offer to let an employee make up some of the time spent quarantining.

Employers also often ask us whether they can prevent an employee form going on holiday if it means they may have to quarantine on return. Strictly speaking, an employer is likely to be able to reject holiday and there is usually a right to do so in an employment contract. Before doing so, we would always advise to fully consider the options as set out above.

In order to avoid COVID-19 related holiday issues, we recommend having a clear policy on holidays and communicating with staff about how, when and any implications of taking holidays.

If you need any assistance putting together a holiday policy, a free review of employment contracts, or any HR/employment law related matter, please get in touch by emailing kate.brooks@ellisjones.co.uk.