It can be of no surprise that there is confusion around the vexed question of who is and who is not entitled to be paid when subject to Covid 19 quarantine.

Individuals self isolating (aka quarantining) after having been in contact with Covid 19 are entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay and this includes individuals who have been contacted through the track and trace system.

Individuals subject to self isolation for 14 days after returning from holiday are not entitled to be paid.  Please don’t shoot the messenger – I don’t make the rules!   Hopefully anyone self isolating following their holiday will be able to work from home, in which case they can be paid in the normal way.   If working from home is not an option then please explore other approaches such as taking any annual leave they may have already accrued, or taking annual leave in advance of accrual.  Alternatively you could agree with the individual that they take 14 days unpaid sabbatical – if you do this please put in in writing.

I have been asked if it would be reasonable to dismiss someone who is unable to work because they are in enforced 14 days quarantine after their holiday.  I do not recommend this course of action.  If they have less than 2 years continuous service then you could probably safely dismiss because of their reduced entitlement to make an application to Employment Tribunal on the grounds of unfair dismissal or constructive dismissal.   More than 2 years service and you are inviting an application to Employment Tribunal.   But more importantly, taking such action when someone is simply following the law is likely to impact employee engagement and may even tarnish your reputation as a reasonable employer – and in time that affects the calibre of applicants to any job you might advertise.

Help is always available to you on 07766 167160 or through my website www.bdroper-hr.co.uk

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