SSP and COVID-19 – Returning from holiday

28 July 2020

With employers encouraging employees to take annual leave, some of them may have opted to travel abroad, with a popular destination for people from the UK being Spain.

With the government’s recent decision to impose a 14-day quarantine on travellers arriving into the UK from Spain, employers should familiarise themselves with the current legislation which will affect any employee returning from Spain after 26 July.

An employee who has returned from a country that is not on the UK’s ‘no self isolation requirement’ list must go into quarantine for 14 days. On many sites, this is called self-isolation, however, this type of isolation differs from the rules that are applied to COVID-19 self-isolation.

Employees who are having to isolate after returning from a holiday or business trip are not entitled to SSP if they cannot work from home. If they can work from home, then they can be paid as normal.  An employer can ask the employee to take additional holiday to cover this period so that the employee receives pay, alternatively, the employee will be placed on unpaid leave. Employers can choose to pay SSP to employees, however, there is no obligation to. Employers should ensure that they communicate this to employees and employees should communicate with employers so that all parties are aware of the situation before it occurs.

Employees should be reminded that if they break quarantine rules, a fine of £1,000 can be imposed.

SSP is payable when an employee:

  • Has coronavirus
  • Has coronavirus symptoms, for example a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste
  • Someone in their household has coronavirus symptoms
  • Has been told to 'shield' by the NHS because of an underlying health condition
  • Has been told to self-isolate by a doctor or NHS 111
  • Has been told to self-isolate by a government 'test and trace' service, because they've been in close contact with someone who tested positive ('NHS Test and Trace' in England, 'Test and Protect' in Scotland or 'Test, trace, protect' in Wales)


Information provided in this news article may be subject to change. Please make note of the date of publication to ensure that you are viewing up to date information. Download the CIPP's Payroll: Need to know - your guide to payroll legislation and reporting for the most up to date data.