Staff facing quarantine after returning from Spain could be left out of pocket

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 28 July 2020 7:00

Staff facing quarantine after returning from Spain could be left out of pocket

There is bad news for staff returning from Spain and caught out by the Government’s decision to impose a two-week quarantine as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

Unless the Government changes the law businesses are not obliged to pay staff sick pay or holiday pay if they are returning from Spain, forced to quarantine, and cannot work from home, according to a Gloucestershire employment law expert. 

Darren Sherborne, of Cheltenham-based Sherbornes Law Ltd, said there was some flexibility for employers – but the short of it was the law was clear and it was tough news for employees. 

The employer has flexibility in this regard and is free to deal with the situation as it sees fit within reason. There is nothing to stop an employer requiring an employee to work from home, if this is possible. 

“Where an employee cannot work from home, there is no current entitlement to SSP for such people, and unless the Government change this situation (and they have in the past) then no sick pay is applicable under most contracts of employment.

“A purist answer to the question of employee’s rights during such self-isolation is “None at all”. The employer does not have to pay normal wages, and does not have to pay sick pay.” 

Businesses can allow staff to take further holiday, if they want to avoid a period without pay, or firms can continue to pay normal wages, but it is their decision. 

“There is nothing to compel such generosity however,” said Mr Sherborne, who added that staff were required to produce an isolation note for the period, obtained through the NHS 111 website. 

Under no circumstances, he said, should businesses compel staff to return to work. 

To read more visit Sherbornes Law Ltd.

First published on The Raikes Journal on July 27.