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A lawyer explains clients' employment rights in light of quarantine announcements

Employment lawyer Abigail Maino
Employment lawyer Abigail Maino

Clients who are currently in Spain, the Canaries and the Balearics, or who are considering travelling there despite the FCO guidance, will see their employment rights affected, explains Abigail Maino, senior associate at DMH Stallard.

The impact of the change in quarantine rules will have a significant effect on people who have recently gone on holiday, and those considering booking. Individuals will need to consider the impact of recent FCO guidance on their travel insurance, and also their employment rights.

 

Most employers will no doubt be sympathetic to this sudden change in government policy and its unexpected impact on employees, but many will not be in a position to pay employees for 14 days of quarantine if they are in roles which cannot be undertaken from home.

Dominic Raab’s statement that employees cannot be dismissed or penalised if they quarantine for 14 days is not underpinned by law in certain circumstances. For example, employees with under two years’ service do not qualify for unfair dismissal rights and some employers may decide to dismiss if those individuals cannot attend work for 14 days, and cannot work from home. This will make many individuals cautious about booking holidays over the summer period, which is a further blow to the travel industry.

If individuals do not have symptoms of Covid-19 or any other illness then they will not be entitled to statutory sick pay or, in the vast majority of cases, company sick pay. This unfortunately leaves employers in a position where, if roles cannot be undertaken from home, they must decide whether to exercise their discretion to pay employees who are quarantining, and the rate of any such pay, while being mindful of any future changes to air bridges and the impact of setting a precedent now with regard to quarantine pay.

 

Many employers are coming to arrangements with employees to try and manage the quarantine period, such as taking additional holiday in the quarantine period, but we would always advise that employees discuss arrangements with their employers before booking.

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