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Employees and Holiday – Spanish holidays and Quarantine difficulties

The Government removed Spain from the safe travel list on Saturday 25th July. This means that anyone returning from 00.01 on 26th July will be required to quarantine for 14 days. This means remain at home, do not travel for any reason apart from essential travel, do not go food shopping, do not socialise (even with social distancing).  In short…. keep away from everyone!

This in turn creates an employment headache.  Staff returning from Spain, were not expecting to have to then be at home for a further 14 days post-holiday. 

Practically, what can an employer do now?

Can staff work from home in isolation?  If yes, excellent news.  Agree this.  Please note that by agreeing to someone now (when this is all rather unexpected) does not mean that a precedent is set.  For staff looking to take holidays in later months – an employer may simply decide this is not practical and not approve holiday.

If staff can’t perform duties at home then you may look to consider granting further holiday leave (even without the usual notice requirements).

If staff have insufficient holiday – you can agree unpaid leave or agree a lower rate as a gesture of goodwill.

An alternative is to place eligible staff (i.e.) those who have been on furlough before 10th June, back onto furlough.

Statutory sick pay is not an option for self-isolation – but an employer could pay the equivalent. 

It is also, worth checking contracts as some employment contacts refer to guaranteed “sick” pay.  And it may depend on the definition of incapacity as to whether this contractual right is triggered of a period of self-isolation.

Looking forward

Employers should put in place a system to establish where staff are going on holiday and where possible put contingency plans in place if they still wish to go. 

Posted on 28 July, 2020 by Ortolan

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