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With lockdown measures being eased, the world as a whole is getting used to our ‘new normal’, wearing face masks, keeping a distance, etc. However, some normality has begun to resume; we are finally able to board planes and travel abroad again… or so we thought?

Over the weekend, it was announced that travelers returning from Spain on or after 26th July 2020 will have to quarantine for 14 days. The FCO has advised against all non-essential travel to mainland Spain (as of the 27th July 2020 - this also includes the Canary and Balearic Islands) based on the current increases in cases of COVID-19 in several regions, particularly in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia.

To find the list of countries and territories exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ international travel, please click here.

Another headache for the travel industry to have to deal with and a reminder to everyone that COVID-19 has not disappeared.

The FCO is not advising those already travelling in Spain to leave and cut short their holiday. However, travelers should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect themselves and others.

Those arriving to the UK from areas like Spain where non-essential travel is advised due to the COVID-19 outbreak will be required to self-isolate (quarantine) for 14 days.

 

What to do if an Employee Needs to Quarantine?

Employees returning on or after 26th July 2020 from countries where the FCO has advised against all non-essential travel will be expected to quarantine for 14 days, to try and prevent the virus being spread.

For example:

  • If an employee returned home from mainland Spain on 27th July, they will need to quarantine for 14 days.
  • If an employee returned home from Mainland Spain on 15th July, they will not need to quarantine as these changes occurred from the 26th July onwards.

 

  1. Can the Employee Work From Home?

If an employee is capable of working from home during the 14 day quarantine period, they can continue to work as normal.

 

  1. If the Employee Cannot Work From Home, What Then?

Where an employee’s role cannot be done at home, they must continue to quarantine for 14 days. We would suggest speaking with the employee to discuss the situation.

You will need to discuss with the employee the following:

  • They will not qualify for SSP unless they meet certain criteria, further information can be found below.
  • The 14 day quarantine period will be unpaid leave.
  • Provide them with the option to use any annual leave during the quarantine period.

 

  1. Writing

If they decide to take annual leave or a mixture of both annual and unpaid leave, ensure that this is put in writing to the employee confirming the agreement.

 

Why Does SSP Not Cover the Quarantine Period?

If an employee cannot work during the quarantine period, for example they cannot carry out their role from home, they will not qualify for SSP unless they meet one of the following:

  • Have coronavirus symptoms.
  • Are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms.
  • Are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health board that they have come into contact with someone with coronavirus.

For example:

An employee returns home from mainland Spain on 26th July. They will have to quarantine for 14 days. The employee is a store assistant i.e. stocks shelves and operates the tills, etc. He cannot carry out his role from home and speaks with his manager. He agrees with his manager that he will not use any annual leave and take the 14 days as unpaid leave.

On the 4th day of quarantine the employee begins to display coronavirus symptoms, the employee will qualify for SSP from this stage onwards.

It is important to ensure that your staff know what symptoms they should look out for and what they should do if they, or people they live with, begin to display symptoms.

 

How Can Howells Solicitors Help?

If you have any employees who are/have been away and are affected by the change and you require tailored advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.

With effect from 15th February 2015 EU Regulations on Consumer Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) allow consumers who bought our services online to submit their complaint via an online complaint portal.

We are required under the regulations to provide our clients the following information:-
  1. Link to the ODR platform - please follow the following link for further information (http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr).
  2. Our contact email address in case of a complaint under the ODR regulation – Andrea Coombes andrea.c@howellslegal.com