How to deal with employees self-isolating after travel.

How to deal with employees self-isolating after travel.

With autumn approaching imminently and the weather turning colder, foreign travel provides a great opportunity for employees to recharge and catch some sunshine but depending on the country visited, employees may need to quarantine on their return by self-isolating for 14 days. So how should companies treat employees who are self-isolating after travel?

In this article I’m going to talk about how businesses may be impacted by self-isolation after travel, what leave and payment options can be considered and set out a simple action plan.

The Impact of Self-Isolation

Managing holiday absence and ensuring operations continue without interruption is an expected part of running a business but where an additional period of self-isolation occurs there may additional pressure placed on colleagues and management to meet business needs.

Communication and advance planning is key to ensuring that service levels are not adversely affected, team members are able to cope with their workload and that employee relations don’t suffer as a result of disgruntled colleagues. Be mindful of the sensitivities of other team members who may be fearful of Covid being transmitted and as a result of foreign travel.

Leave & Payment Options

Whether a quarantine period impacts an individual’s work will be based on their work setup. Where possible employees should work from home during their self-isolation period, in which case they should be paid as normal.

Where home working isn’t viable then employers should consider the following options:

  • Annual Leave – assuming the employee has sufficient leave entitlement for some or all of the absence. Employers can insist leave is taken provided sufficient notice is provided The notice period for this should be at least twice as long as the leave the employer wants the employee to take and employee must be informed before the notice period begins.
  • Unpaid Leave – may be granted for some or all of the leave period. 
  • Sick Pay – there is no entitlement to SSP in this instance, however, employers can choose to pay SSP or Company Sick pay at their own cost. 
  • Furlough leave – if both parties agree then the employee could be put on furlough leave however there should also be a diminished need for the employee’s services in order to satisfy the requirements of the Corona virus retention scheme. 

 4 Point Action Plan

  • Determine and communicate a clear policy and statement on the company position and what is expected from employees.
  • Consider whether to request employees don’t travel to certain countries for health and safety reasons. Just remember there is no obligation for employees to heed a request and so if adopting this strategy, communicate the reasons for the request clearly and ensure employees understand that there will be no detriment to them should they choose to travel abroad.
  • Advise employees to check with line management before booking any travel abroad. Management can then review whether working from home is an option and consider any impact on the workload and wider team.
  • If homeworking is not a viable option, managers should ensure the employee understands the company’s position in terms of leave and pay arrangements should they require to self-isolate.
  • Monitor work relations and all employee’s mental health on an ongoing basis via regular communication and 1:1 meetings.

Contact me if you’d like some support with managing your employee issues.




6 Top Tips on getting your SME workplace talent ready

 6 Top Tips on getting your SME workplace talent ready

Despite the employment market being tough for job seekers, many have preconceived ideas about what working for an SME is really like. Often, they wrongly assume that there will be a lack of career prospects within a smaller organisation and instead go looking for opportunities within the “big name” organisations which are familiar to them.
Having spent the last six years supporting SME organisations I have worked with some fantastic people, many running innovative and ambitious businesses. Finding the right people when you need them, who have the technical skills and just as importantly fit in with your organisational culture can be tricky. If an incorrect hire is made within a small organisation it can be disruptive to the team, financially costly and take up a lot of unnecessary management time. (Look out for my next blog about how to hire the right people for your business.)

So, how can you create a workplace which helps you attract and retain the best talent?

Here are my top tips:

 1. Organisational culture, working relationships and team dynamics can make or break an organisation. The informal, friendly and team-orientated working practices of the SME can lead to better relationships, communication and cooperation. Take time to reflect on how your own organisation operates, if you don’t like what you see then there are lots of practical steps you can take to implement change.

 2. Every day is different, this is a great for your team who with training can experience a wider job role, increased skills and a better understanding of the wider business.  In return the organisation benefits from a flexible and capable workforce.

 3. Team members regularly get the opportunity to interact with the key decision makers and get noticed.  Consider holding regular briefings on company plans and performance and look at creating opportunities for people to participate in new projects and initiatives.

 4. Every member of the team makes a difference and helps to deliver organisational success. Make sure you recognise contributions and if necessary deal promptly with any performance issues to maintain an effective and harmonious team.

  5. With little or no hierarchy then changes to working practices can be implemented quickly to meet individual employee needs.

  6. Business needs change and develop especially within growing organisations. Encourage team members to share their ambitions and where appropriate provide training to meet the future needs of the business.

Don’t forget that communication is essential if you want to attract and retain the best talent. Whilst you might not be able to compete with the “big guys” on salary package you shouldn’t underestimate the benefits of a great working environment. 

Contact me if you would like help and advice with implementing strategies and practical steps to improve your workplace.