Travelling outside the UK

Posted on 28th July 2020

The Government are continuously updating travel advice now that people can travel out of the UK. This comes with its own rules around whether individuals will have to self-isolate upon their return which are regularly changing. In this blog we’ve summarised the key points as things stand today.

Where can I find up to date information on foreign travel advice?

You can find advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirement and travel warnings by using the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

You can sign up for regular email alerts here, which we would strongly advise doing.

Why is it important for employers and employees to keep up to date with this information?

With employees currently looking to / having booked holidays to locations outside of the UK, it is important to understand the impact of such travelling on their safety and subsequently their return to work.

Some countries (recent example of Spain along with the Balearic and Canary Islands) are now advising against all “non-essential” travelling (due to increases in COVID-19 cases).

The advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is not to travel to some countries.

However, if individuals do, they are now being asked to self-isolate upon their return for 14 days.

What do employees need to do upon their return to the UK?

The government advice which can be shared with your employees, is as follows:

When you return

What if my employee travelled to their destination and the requirement to self-isolate upon return came into place whilst they were there?

If your employee was already at the destination outside of the UK when it was announced that self-isolation for 14 days was a requirement upon their return, this would have been completely out of their control.

They will be required to self-isolate for 14 days in line with FCO guidance, upon their return to the UK.

What if my employee knew that they would have to self-isolate at the time of booking?

Employees have a responsibility for themselves to ensure they are aware of current guidance when travelling outside of the UK.

If your employee was aware of the requirement to self-isolate when booking travel to a destination outside of the UK, they have essentially chosen to make themselves unavailable for work upon their return to the UK.

In this situation, as a business, you may choose to proceed with internal processes and procedures for the employee upon their return.

What if my employee booked their holiday when there was not a requirement to self-isolate, but this has since changed before their departure?

Again, employees have a responsibility for themselves to ensure they are aware of current guidance when travelling outside of the UK.

As above, if your employee was aware of the requirement to self-isolate when leaving to travel to a destination outside of the UK, they have essentially chosen to make themselves unavailable for work upon their return to the UK.

In this situation, as a business, you may choose to proceed with internal processes and procedures for the employee upon their return.

Are employees paid Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for the 14-day period of self-isolation?

The government have confirmed that SSP will NOT to be paid if individuals are self-isolating after entering or returning to the UK.

All other reasons remain the same when claiming SSP (linked to the coronavirus Covid-19), as follows:

If you cannot work because of coronavirus

You could get SSP if you’re self-isolating because:

SSP is also payable if you’re taking extra precautions because you’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (known as ‘shielding’).

You cannot get SSP if you’re self-isolating after entering or returning to the UK and do not need to self-isolate for any other reason.

If your illness is not related to coronavirus

If your illness is not related to coronavirus, you can get SSP from the fourth day you are off work sick.

What are the other options for employees during the 14-day period of self-isolation? 

You may choose to collaborate with the employee to agree:

  • For the employee to take holiday entitlement for some or all of the 14-day period.  This will ensure they receive holiday pay (rather than unpaid leave).
  • To allow them to work from home (if they can), to receive their usual remuneration for the period.

We would advise that, where possible, these decisions are fair and equal amongst employees.

As always, if you need our help with this or any other HR advice, call us on 01536 215240.

 

 

Charlotte Batchelor Character
Written by:
Charlotte Batchelor
HR Adviser
Categories