An increasing number of countries are being added to the COVID quarantine list. Individuals who return from these areas are being asked to self-isolate for 14-days to reduce risks of spreading coronavirus. So what do you do if staff are quarantined? Let’s find out in this article written by the MIA’s Business Support Helpline Partner, Croner…
Staff in Quarantine
Managing the situation
Staff cannot return to the office straight away, and so, you’ll need to take steps to manage the situation.
The first thing to consider is pay. You don’t have to pay staff normally unless you’ve already agreed otherwise. This includes statutory sick pay (SSP).
Beyond pay, there are many options to explore. For example, you could:
- Place staff back on furlough, if they’re eligible
- Permit staff to work remotely
- Enforce a period of annual leave. (You’ll need to provide double the amount of notice as annual leave taken. For example, 1 week of annual leave will require 2 weeks’ notice).
- Enforce a period of unpaid leave
The furlough option
You can only place staff on furlough if they have previously been furloughed before 10 June 2020.
However, it is possible to furlough staff for the first time if they weren’t furlough previously. The reason for this must be due to them being on maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental, or parental bereavement leave. It’s also possible to furlough them if they return from active military service that began prior to 10th June and ended after this date.
My staff need to travel abroad…
If staff travel as part of their role, they could be at risk of self-isolating on their return. You need to assess whether these trips are necessary. Keep an eye on the quarantine list and stay up-to-date with which are under consideration.
If you decide a trip is necessary, try not to disadvantage your employees as a result. An employee who you expect to remain away from work without pay is likely to become very demotivated. This could damage the employment relationship. In rare cases, it could lead to a claim of constructive unfair dismissal.
You (and your staff) may find the quarantine rules frustrating. However, remember that they’re there to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Permitting staff to self-isolate may be temporarily inconvenient. However, you’ll damage your business much more if staff begin to show symptoms of COVID-19.
This year, the world of business has changed in a way that no one could have anticipated.
Now more than ever, your MIA membership can help your business to recover, adapt, and thrive in the new reality of the working world.
For any advice or guidance on any of the above, or if you have other queries, all MIA members have free access to Croner’s member support helpline. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the exclusive Business Support Helpline scheme number.