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New Employment Guidance on Self-Isolating After Returning to UK

on Friday, 28 August 2020.

Individuals have been able to travel to some countries without needing to self-isolate on their return to the UK.

The list of 'travel corridors' has evolved over time according to each country's coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission rate. In some cases, short notice changes to the list have meant travellers have unexpectedly needed to quarantine on their return.

New Guidance

The Government has recently published new guidance summarising individuals' employment rights where they are required to self-isolate after returning to the UK. The guidance confirms employees are encouraged to work from home where possible. If working from home is not possible, the guidance suggests the parties should agree to the employee taking a further period of leave to cover the self-isolation period. The guidance also states dismissal in these circumstances should only be a last resort, and may in any event be unfair.  

Separate guidance further confirms that an employee cannot get Statutory Sick Pay if they are self-isolating after entering or returning to the UK, and do not need to self-isolate for any other reason.

Coronavirus guidance employers

Best Practice

As previously reported, it remains reasonable to ask staff to keep employers informed of international travel plans. Where the employer has an unforeseen absence policy, it is sensible to draw staff attention to this in advance of international travel, so that any unpaid leave on their return will not come as a surprise. 

It is also open to employers to implement a local policy of asking staff to work from home for 14 days following any international travel, if this is considered necessary, in order to protect the wider workforce.

For specialist legal advice and support with your workforce planning, please contact Mark Stevens in our Employment Law team on 07909 681 036, or complete the form below.

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