Taking holidays: Preparing for local lockdowns and quarantine

Do you know which of your employees are going on holiday in the coming months, whether in the UK or abroad?

Do you have contingency plans in place in case an employee gets stuck in a local lockdown while away in the UK or has to go into quaratine after going on holiday abroad?

This article provides some options and things for you to consider.

Hoildays – General

  • Holiday continues to accrue as normal for employees who are on Furlough.
  • To avoid a backlog, you can tell your staff when to take holiday, giving twice the amount of notice to the amount of time being take ie 2 weeks notice for 1 week’s holiday. Further information at: Holiday Entitlement During Coronavirus
  • Any holiday taken must be paid at 100% (ie until the end of August, 80% Furlough and 20% Company top up / September – 70% Furlough and 30% Company top up / October – 60% Furlough and 40% Company top up).
  • Carrying over up to 4 weeks of leave for up to 2 years is for key industries / key workers and only if employees have not been able to take the time off.
  • Update your holiday policy and share it with staff:
    • Holidays already booked may be cancelled by the operator at the last minute – Do employees come to work or still take the time off as holiday?
    • If someone is told to self-isolate and can’t go on holiday – Statutory Sick Pay or still take the time off as holiday?
    • What will you do if someone becomes stuck in a local lockdown somewhere in the UK and can’t get back to the work premises? – Do they take additional holiday or unpaid leave?
    • The 14-Day Quarantine rules for those travelling abroad are being reviewed every few weeks, although things may change more quickly if a country goes into lockdown again.The latest list of countries which are exempt from the 14 day quaratine regulations on return to the UK can be found at: Entering the UK. But what will you do if someone returns from a holiday abroad and then has to go into quarantine for 14 days? – Do they take additional holiday or unpaid leave?

Contingency Planning for Local Lockdowns and Quarantine

  • Identify which employees may be impacted ie who has a holiday booked already or is thinking of taking a holiday in the next few months and where are they going?
  • Remind staff that going on holiday and taking the associated risks is voluntary and their personal choice.
  • Explain that the company is under no obligation to pay anyone who is unable to return to work due to a local lockdown or are in quarantine after a holiday.
  • Furlough is NOT an option when there is work available for your staff to do.
  • Potential options when an employee is unable to return to the workplace:
    • Work from home / the local lockdown area (if possible)?
    • Take additional holiday?
    • Take unpaid leave?
    • Swap with someone who is on Furlough?
    • Work additional hours to make up for the additional time off work at a later date (if possible)?
    • If only just booking the holiday now, decline their leave request if you can’t accommodate the time off? Make sure you explain why their request has been declined.
    • To cover their work, consider asking other employees to cancel forthcoming holidays, although you will need to give the same amount of notice as the amount of time being cancelled eg 1 weeks notice to cancel a holiday of 1 week. IMPORTANT: before doing this, consider the impact of asking someone to cancel a holiday eg will they lose money on a holiday they have already paid for?
  • The latest Government guidelines regarding travel can be found at: Coronavirus – Safer Travel Guidance