A staff member wants to travel to see family abroad. What are the quarantine options?

A staff member wants to travel to see family abroad. What are the quarantine options?

So you have a member of staff who wants to travel to see family but need to quarantine for 2 weeks when they get there and 2 weeks when they get back but don't want to use all their holidays. What can you do?

It has been difficult for many people being separated from their family during the lockdown period, where employee have family outside the UK this may still be problematic for them to see them.

As the list of travel corridors continues to be updated then this is important to check if an employee leaving the UK will be required to quarantine on their return, you can check this here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors

The employee should also consider whether the country they are travelling to have any form of quarantine when they arrive, information can be found on https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

As an employer, there are some considerations your employees may need to be aware of if they are considering travel abroad where restrictions may apply.

1. Maximum holiday periods

As a business, many contracts stipulate that the maximum leave that can be taken is 2 continuous weeks unless expressly agreed otherwise. Quarantine restrictions at either end of a journey may impact the length of leave needed and so this should be discussed in advance before arrangements are made by employees.

2. Holiday dates

There may be restrictions on leave based on the fact employees may be unable to work due to shielding etc… and so an employee should check their leave is approved before making any firm arrangements.

3. Annual Leave v’s Unpaid Leave

If you are required to quarantine then your Employer may request this is taken as annual leave, which may mean an employee has very little leave left for the remainder of the year. This would then not allow an employee to take a break during the course of a year which may not be conducive to their wellbeing.

An employer may insist, or perhaps an employee may request, some of this period to be taken as unpaid leave. It will be at the discretion of the employer as to whether this may be agreed.

4. Working from home

An employer may be able to accommodate an employee working from home on their return to the UK whilst in quarantine which means additional leave is not needed. This would be a good solution, even if this is a short term arrangement, to get your employee back at work quickly.

It is always advisable to communicate openly in advance to employees, the implications of them choosing to travel and for employees to approach their Manager at the earliest opportunity to discuss potential plans that may mean they have an extended period of leave.

For clarity on the above, please get in touch on 0844 879 7286 to speak to one of our HR experts. 

You can visit our FAQ page here for all your burning questions on HR and H&S https://www.questconsultingservices.co.uk/faqs

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