Spain Quarantine Rules: An employment Law Insight
Spain quarantine rules: An employment law insight
Employment law specialist urges employers to act “sympathetically” in wake of new quarantine guidance
Quarantine following travel from Spain and other countries not featured on the Scottish Government’s list of exemptions is a legal requirement and employees would be liable to a criminal fine if they do not comply.
From an employment perspective, this announcement will disrupt many people’s annual leave plans, particularly those who are already in Spain or due to travel in the coming weeks. While time off work may have been arranged for the duration of a holiday, it most likely won’t have taken into account the need to quarantine for two weeks on return.
Debbie Fellows, employment law specialist at Thorntons is urging employers and staff to come to an arrangement as to how to treat any period of quarantine for employment and pay purposes.
“As quarantine is a legal requirement, it is important that employers do not try to force or allow employees who are required to self-isolate to attend work or leave their house during the 14 day period,” said Debbie. “This self-isolation is a public health measure so it is advisable for employers to treat the situation sympathetically.”
“It is also important that employees tell their employers if they are required to self-isolate to ensure alternative arrangements can be made.
“Where possible, employers should consider arranging for employees to work from home so they can continue working during quarantine. Employees who are fit to work during self-isolation are not prevented from doing so, provided they do not leave their house. However, for those who cannot work from home, employers will need to decide how to deal with the 14 day period. There are a few issues I’d urge employers to consider.”
Sick Leave: The UK Government website on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) states clearly that employees cannot get SSP if they’re self-isolating after entering or returning to the UK and do not need to self-isolate for any other reason. SSP during self-isolation has only been extended where self-isolation is required for a limited set of circumstances e.g. where an employee is required to shield by the NHS or is living with someone with coronavirus symptoms. Unless the Government update its position and extend SSP further, employers would be acting contrary to the current government guidance by treating any period of self-isolation following travel abroad as sick leave.
Annual Leave: Employers can consider using annual leave to cover any period of quarantine, but they should consider the individual’s circumstances to determine if this option is appropriate, and act in line with the relevant contract of employment. The first consideration is whether the employee actually has enough annual leave to cover two weeks of quarantine. The second is whether the employee wants to use a significant portion of their annual leave on two weeks of quarantine.
Authorised leave, paid or unpaid: In addition to using annual leave, another option is for employers and employees to agree that the two week quarantine (or a portion of it) will be treated as a period of exceptional, authorised leave. For staff who have not yet gone on holiday, it would be advisable to discuss this with their employer before they travel, to ensure authorisation for any exceptional leave is in place before departure. For employers, when deciding whether to grant any such period of authorised leave, it is important to bear in mind the exceptional circumstances at hand. Requests for authorised leave should be treated in a reasonable and sympathetic manner, bearing in mind that quarantine is a mandatory legal requirement and travel plans may have been in place before this was announced. Unreasonably refusing authorised leave for a period of government-mandated self-isolation may not be looked upon favourably if the employee were to raise a formal complaint down the line.
In terms of whether such leave should be paid, if there is no provision for paid, exceptional leave in the contract of employment, it would be up to employer to decide whether to provide pay on a discretionary basis. If the employee has no contractual right to be paid in such circumstances, there would be no obligation on the employer to pay during quarantine if the employee simply cannot work.
Unauthorised leave: Where an employee takes a leave of absence without authorisation. This is an option, however it raises the question of whether the unauthorised leave could merit disciplinary action. As above, it would be advisable for employers and employees to come to an agreement with one another rather than going down this route.
For staff who had already travelled to Spain before the announcement was made, it would likely be unreasonable to treat any period of self-isolation as a disciplinary matter. This could encourage staff to attempt to travel to work in breach of the rules, which is not in keeping with the objectives of the government’s plan and could endanger the health and safety of colleagues and customers alike. For those who have not yet gone on holiday but have plans to do so, arrangements should be discussed with the employer before travelling.
In this section
- SCC Guidance for Businesses: Beyond Level 0, Face Coverings, Self-isolation
- Scottish Government Update - Friday 14th May
- Scottish Government Daily Update 24th March 2021
- BlueSky Experiences : COVID-19 As A Catalyst for Change Webinar 30 September
- Scottish Government SME Loan for food and drink businesses!
- URGENT update from NHS Tayside about a COVID-19 Outbreak at 2Sisters in Coupar Angus
- Waste sector grants offered for Covid-19 adaptations- Up to £10,000 per site
- Spain Quarantine Rules: An employment Law Insight
- General Guidelines
- UK government: Government launches £200m funding for sustainable COVID-19 Business Recovery, 27 June 2020
- Scottish Government: Lockdown begins to ease in Phase 1, 28 May 2020
- Scottish Government: COVID-19 Budget Revision, 27 May 2020
- Scottish Government: Sector Guidance for Easing Lockdown, 26 May 2020
- Scottish Government: COVID-19 Funding Plea, 23 May 2020
- Scottish Government: Expansion of COVID-19 Testing, 18 May 2020
- Data Protection and Privacy During the Coronavirus Pandemic
- Scottish Government: Second Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill, 11 May 2020
- Scottish Government: SME Support Doubles to £90 million, 8 May 2020
- Redundancy during Coronavirus Part 4: How do I calculate redundancy payments?
- Redundancy during Coronavirus: Part 3: How do I consult with employees who are risk of redundancy?
- Scottish Government: Emergency Loan Fund for SME House Builders, 7 May 2020
- UK Government: Business Rates Revaluation Postponed, 6 May 2020
- Scottish Government: New Powers over CAP, 5 May 2020
- Scottish Government: Preparing for Economic Recovery, 5 May 2020
- Uk Government: Self Employed Invited to Get Ready to Make Their Claims for COVID-19 Support, 4 May 2020
- UK Governement: Funding five new testing facilities in Scotland, including Perth, 29 April 2020
- Scottish Government: Rapid Coronavirus Research. More than 50 Scottish Studies to Tackle Virus and its Impact, 28 April 2020
- Scottish Government: Securing Vital COVID-19 Supplies for Scotland, 24 April 2020
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme Update and New Support for Smaller Businesses
- Aberdein Considine: View the latest response to Coronavarius
- Redundancy During Coronavirus: Part 2: How Do I Select Employees for Redundancy? 23 April 2020
- Scottish Government: Lifeline Support for Business Confirmed, 21 April 2020
- Scottish Government: Universal Credit. People Being Urged To Access All Support, 21 April 2020
- Scottish Government: COVID-19 Impact on Scotland's Economy, 21 April 2020
- Redundancy During Coronavirus: Part 1: How Do I Deal With Collective Consultation?, 21 April 2020
- Scottish Government: Call for Accelerated Business Support, 21 April 2020
- UK Government: Billion £ Support Package for Innovative Firms hit by COVID-19, 20 April 2020
- Scottish Government: Extend Brexit Transition during COVID-19 crisis, 20 April 2020
- Scottish Government: Advisory Group on Economic Recovery, 17 April 2020
- Scottish Government: Thousands of Businesses Benefit from Support Grants, 17 April 2020
- UK Government: Chancellor extends furlough scheme to end of June, 17 April 2020
- What Coronavirus Act means for Commerical Landlords
- UK Government: Universal Credit claimants to verify identity through Government Gateway, 16 April 2020
- UK Government: Councils given greater financial relief against cash flow pressures, 16 April 2020
- Scottish Government: Additional Support for Business, including additional £100m for Self-Employed, 15 April 2020
- UK Government: Magnox donates 66,000 items of PPE to support coronavirus response, 15 April 2020
- UK Government: Furlough scheme cut-off date extended to 19 March, 15 April 2020
- UK Government: Job Retention Scheme, 15 April 2020
- Scottish Government: New Mental Health Support, 14 April 2020
- UK Government Response: Commission on Human Medicines: Advice on Ibuprofen and Coronavirus, 14 April 2020
- Scottish Government: National Helpline to Support Those at High COVID-19 Risk, 13 April 2020
- UK Government: Scottish Secretary Welcomes Additional Money to Help Scotland Tackle Coronavirus, 13 April 2020
- Scottish Government: Transport Community to Help COVID-19 Sufferers, 12 April 2020
- Scottish Government: New Measures to Protect Business Tenants, 10 April 2020.
- Scottish Chamber of Commerce: COVID-19 Update
- Scottish Government: Skills matching service to help rural business. 09.04.20
- Scottish Government: Additional COVID-19 Daily Data Published 08.04.20
- UK Government: Coronavirus (COVID-19): letter to the manufacturing sector 08.04.20
- UK Government: Letter from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma, to those working in retail. 08.04.20
- Scottish Business Community calls for clarity, consistency and cooperation in COVID-19 response 3 April 2020
- Help find new ways too ease global disruption: apply for funding. 3 April 2020
- UK Export Finance to offer export insurance in all major markets in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19). 3 April 2020
- Chancellor strengthens support on offer for business as first government-backed loans reach firms in need
- Scottish Business Community calls for clarity, consistency and cooperation in COVID-19 response. 3 April 2020
- Scottish Govenment Help with non-domestic rates in Scotland during coronavirus (COVID-19) Last updated: 2 April 2020
- Coronavirus: Rishi Sunak announcement on UK government aid for self-employed
- UK Government Self-employment and Universal Credit
- Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): business and social distancing guidance. Published 25.03.20
- Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for businesses on offering support. Published 24 March 2020
- 20th March Update
- SCC & Scottish Government Update 18th March
- SCC & Scottish Government Update 17th March
- PKC Coronavirus (Covid-19) Guidance
- UK Government Coronavirus (Covid-19) Link
- Scottish Government Corona Virus (Covid-19) Link
- NEW Find Business Support in response to Coronavirus - from Scottish Enterprise Source
- Coronavirus: £320m rescue package for business from Scottish government - BBC Sourced
- Guidance & Quick Links
- Helpline announed by Fiona Hyslop, Economy Secretary - Sunday 15th March 2020