28 July 2020

Staff returning from Spain: advice for employers

Tom Martin Senior Associate

Employers and staff face quarantine conundrum after Spain’s second coronavirus wave.

Businesses with employees returning from Spain and going straight into quarantine should seek an agreeable solution with the affected staff says our employment solicitor Tom Martin.

And he recommends that conversations should take place with employees who are planning European travel in the weeks and months ahead.

It’s likely that thousands of people in the Humber and Lincolnshire region were planning holidays in Spain this summer. The Government’s decision to take the country off the UK’s ‘safe destination’ list has thrown those plans into chaos.

And with a reported rise in COVID cases in other countries, future European travel remains uncertain.

Our advice

Tom has this message for employers: “With no mandatory regulations in place, the

onus is on the individual employers. There’s no legal requirement for employers to provide sick pay if someone is quarantining, but each business will have to make their own decision.

“It is imperative that honest and open communications between the employer and the employee can take place – whether that be now, if a person has just arrived back from Spain, or if someone has travel plans,” said Tom.

“The needs of a business must be a priority and reasonable discussions should be had about how, or if, that business can continue to operate effectively if an employee has to quarantine for two weeks.

“Many employees are still working from home and that may well continue with a person who has to quarantine, even if their duties need to be modified for this period.
“This is the ideal position, as you cannot ask employees to attend the workplace and they will ordinarily not be entitled to pay as a result. A fall-back position could be to have them use up some holiday during those two weeks.”

Slowing the spread

Meanwhile, operators of domestic holiday destinations are continuing to put measures into place to reduce transmission. Major holiday parks are now reopening with reduced capacity and strict social distancing and hygiene measures.

Our sector specialist and solicitor Sarah Kemp, who is also a director of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA), says that owners of accommodation, including camping and caravan parks, were being diligent.

“There’s no doubt that park operators, along with the tourism sector generally, are hoping that their businesses can continue to operate as they adhere to the social distancing guidelines and health and safety measures that are in place. Neither is there any doubt of the high standards that are being set in ensuring those measures are followed,” said Sarah.

“Our tourism industry faces what is arguably its biggest challenge ever and all within the sector are working extremely hard to ensure its success – by working together and promoting what is happening, the future will be much more certain,” she added.

For holiday park operators wanting information on the current advice and regulations, check out this comprehensive guide on the BA&HPA's website.

General tips for safe domestic trips includes:

  • Avoid travelling during peak times

  • Limit the time you spend at garages, petrol stations and motorway services, and pay by contactless and keep your distance

  • Wash or sanitise your hands regularly

  • Do not travel if you’re experiencing any coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating because someone in your household or bubble has symptoms

  • If NHS test and trace has told you to self-isolate, do not travel

  • Avoid areas under local lockdown – you can check the latest government advice here

  • Remember social distancing and face coverings in enclosed spaces such as shops and public transport, but you don’t need to wear one in pubs, cafes and banks.

Tom Martin, Wilkin Chapman LLP
Need help?

Contact Tom to discuss this further.

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