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.