Are employers responsible to pay employees if they must go into quarantine?
If your employee is not sick, but cannot work due to being in self-isolation or quarantine, then there is no legal or statutory right from the employer to pay if someone is not sick but cannot work because they:
- Have been told by a health or medical professional to self-isolate.
- They need to go into quarantine.
- The employee is currently abroad in an affected area and are not allowed to travel back to the UK.
As a reputable employer, it is best practice to treat this as sick leave and go down the route of your pay policy or agree with your employee for the time to be taken as annual leave holiday.
Or else, there is a chance that the employee may want to come into work so that they can get paid and risk the health and welfare of others around them. This is not advisable as this could spread the virus if they have it.
If your employee is steadfast and keen to return to work straight away, it is possible for the employer to suspend the employee on health and safety grounds. If this is the case, you would need to pay the employee as usual. As an alternative arrangement, the employee may be able to work from home or from abroad using a laptop, if this is a feasible option.
What happens if an employee is not sick, but you tell them not to come to work?
Employees are eligible to their normal pay if you ask them not to attend work when they are not sick. For example, if someone has returned from an affected destination abroad and you request for them not to attend work on health and safety grounds.
What happens if an employee needs time off work to look after someone with coronavirus?
Employees are permitted to leave from work to support someone who depends on them in an unforeseen event or emergency. This would relate to situations to do with coronavirus. Such as:
- If they have children that they are a parent or guardian of, and they need to look after or arrange childcare for them because their school or nursery has closed.
- To help their child or another dependant if they are sick or need to go into isolation or hospital.
There is no statutory obligation to pay for this time off work to look after their dependant.
What if my employees have concerns for their health?
Some people might feel that they do not want to go to work from the office if they are anxious about catching coronavirus. If there are sincere worries, you must try to decide how to protect the health and safety of your employees.
Once you put health and safety measures in place, and your employee still does not want to attend work, they may be able to organise with you to take the time off as holiday or unpaid leave. However, you are not obligated to agree to this.
In this situation where the employee refuses to attend work and no compromise can be made, it could result in disciplinary action.
JMR Solicitors can help with employment law matters in relation to quarantine and pay.
If you would like guidance on sick pay and supporting employees that are affected due to coronavirus, pay during quarantine or isolation, please contact our legal team on 0161 491 3933 or email firstname.lastname@example.org