Employee Holidays – Traveling outside the UK

09 February 2021

Today (9 February 2020) the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, announced tougher restrictions on those traveling back to the UK from a red list area. He advised that travellers who are required to quarantine in hotels within the UK, will have to pay £1,750 for their stay. The measure applies to UK and Irish residents that return from the 33 red list countries. Prior to travel, individuals will be required to pre-book via an online platform and pay for what is being called a ‘quarantine package’ Those failing to do so, can expect to face fines up to £10,000.

Employers will need to have policies in place to tackle this and should make their employees aware of their rights to pay in such events.

Currently, those who travel back from a red list country have to quarantine for a 10 day period. Quarantine differs from self-isolation, therefore, there is no entitlement for the employee to receive statutory sick pay from their employers.

Employers will need to make it clear to employees what they will be entitled to if they find themselves in this situation following a holiday outside of the UK.

Employers can either:

  • Ask the employee to take additional holiday to cover the period in which they must quarantine

  • Allow them to work from home for their period of quarantine (if applicable)

  • Or advise them that the period of quarantine will be classed as unpaid leave

Employees who are on unpaid leave still retain their employment rights, such as accruing holiday leave and their rights to fair dismissal. Gov.uk offers guidance for employers if an employee falls into this situation.


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