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Can I furlough employees who self-isolate after returning to the UK?

From 26th July, following data that showed a spike in coronavirus cases, the government announced new guidelines for anyone returning to the UK after a holiday.

This states that you may need to self-isolate (quarantine) for 14 days. However, this could change depending on the country you have travelled from.

This can include returning from:

  • A Holiday
  • Business Travel
  • Other personal travel. e.g A family emergency

Employees who fall under this category and need to self-isolate should stay at home and avoid going to their workplace. Though, if the member of staff can work from home, they may not be affected by having to self-isolate.

If the employee is unable to work from home

In the case that one of your employees cannot work from home, annual leave will need to taken to cover the period of self-isolation. In some circumstances, their annual leave request could be refused.

Considering other options

According to ACAS, if both the employee and employer agree, the member of staff could be put on furlough for the period of time they are in self-isolation.

Within this period of furlough, normal rules apply. The employee may only be furloughed if they have previously been so for a full 3 weeks before 30th June.

Are employees entitled to sick pay after returning to the UK?

If an employee is self-isolating after returning from a holiday, and is unable to work from home, they are not entitled to SSP (Sick Pay).

However, an employer can choose to pay them SSP voluntarily, which can also be paid at a higher rate of SSP if they wish.

Travel due to emergencies

Employees may travel outside of the UK for family emergencies or the death of a family member.

In this case, employers should be respectful and fair towards their staff.

If an employee cannot work from home when they return, the employer could consider offering unpaid leave for part of, or all of, the time they are in self-isolation.

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