Quarantine Holiday Requests: How to deal with annual leave

Navigating the world of Covid really has had its twists and turns. With the UK’s travel rules changing today, it’s important to keep up to date on the latest guidance. The government has announced that all double vaccinated adults will no longer have to be quarantined for 10 days following a trip to an amber list country; however, they still need to pay for a Covid-19 test three days before returning to the UK, and a PCR test two days after arriving. When traveling to a green list country, employees will not have to quarantine however covid-19 tests are required before and after travelling.

With the rules still fluid as to when employees could possibly need to isolate post-holiday, how should employers deal with annual leave requests when the holiday requests are for quarantine after travelling abroad?

There isn’t a written rule book however, step one is always to check the latest rules when it comes to travelling abroad. Which countries are on the amber and red list and what precautions need to be taken after travelling abroad to those countries.

If an employee requests annual leave to travel to a country where they are permitted to self-isolate before or after their return, then as a business and employer it’s important to think about if you can accommodate this quarantine period. If your employee is successfully working from home, then the request shouldn’t become an issue seeing as their return to work would be remote meaning the quarantine period wouldn’t have an effect on the business or their work.

If your employee cannot work remotely then it is at this point when you can request that they extend their holiday to cover the self-isolation period. Alternatively, if they have not got enough holiday then you are well within your right to refuse the holiday request. In addition to this, if the holiday length becomes unrealistic for the business to cope then you can again refuse the holiday.

In order to maintain employee relations and offer solutions to the quarantine holiday problem then you could offer a period of unpaid leave. This can be seen as a great compromise as many employees need the break away, so offering your support by meeting in the middle will stand you in good stead as a reasonable and valued employer.

If you need any help or advice surrounding annual leave or dealing with employee quarantine, our team of HR advisers can help – Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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