With the World starting to open up again following lockdown, the government has taken a reactive approach to the increasing number of worldwide COVID-19 cases. The government has kept a list of countries and territories where workers can travel to England from, and following which they may not have to self-isolate, otherwise known as “travel corridors”.

However, with holiday destinations such as France, Spain, several Greek Islands and now Portugal not included in the travel corridors, companies may find themselves in a situation where their worker will have to self-isolate for 14 days following a period of holiday.

If you have an employee who has or intends to travel outside of the travel corridors, then there are a few options available upon their return. Firstly, it should be considered whether the worker is able to work from home. In an agency situation, this might not be an option but should, in any event, be considered.

Secondly, consider whether it would be possible for the worker to take annual leave to cover the period of self-isolation. Given that the worker would have already been on annual leave, this again might not be feasible to cover the whole 14-day period.

Finally, the worker may be placed on unpaid leave for the period of self-isolation.

Workers having to take 14-days off, sometimes at short notice, can be a hassle for agencies, particularly when organising staffing levels. You should therefore ensure that you encourage open communication about workers’ travel plans. As a worker could potentially be losing two weeks of pay, it is important that there are procedures in place and that they feel comfortable discussing options as soon as it becomes apparent that the worker will be travelling from a country outside the travel corridors.

Some workers may insist on coming back before the 14-day period has ended. However, employers should be wary of this as not only will the company be in breach of government guidance and potentially their health and safety obligations, but the worker could also be liable for a fine of up to £3,200 for failing to self-isolate.

This article was supplied to TBOS by our preferred legal supplier SA Law for more insights you can visit their website here https://salaw.com/views-insights/.

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