Employers have tough decisions to make when employees return to the UK

Employers have some tough decisions to make when  employees return from COVID hotspots, according to leading tax and advisory firm, Blick Rothenberg. Heather Self, a partner at the firm said: “ Following the Governments decision that require holidaymakers returning from Spain to quarantine for two weeks and worries that there is an increasing spike of cases across Europe employers have some tough decisions to make and they do not have too much lee-way.”

Heather added: “Employers may be able to furlough the employee, but only if that employee has previously been furloughed prior to 30 June (no new employees can be furloughed after that date).   If so, the employee gets 80% pay at minimal cost to employer. The employer has to pay NIC and pension contributions but from August 1st will no longer be able to reclaim them.”

Heather said: “Employees will not qualify for Statutory sick pay SSP. The Government could change this, but there has been no sign of them doing this so far. Beyond that, it is at employer’s discretion, unless a contract specifically covers the position which is unlikely.”

She added: Employers could allow an employee to take additional paid holiday, out of their normal allowance, or to take unpaid leave. Many employers did this for the Icelandic ash cloud situation a few years ago.

Heather said: “ Employers may wish to be generous but if they do so for these employees, what happens during the rest of the summer? They need to treat employees fairly so if they give it to one, will they have to do it for others. She added: “ If an employee has been employed for less than 2 years, they generally do not have protection against dismissal.  Employers will probably not want to treat an employee harshly – but times are very hard for some employers so tough decisions may have to be made.

“Employers need to maintain a safe workplace – so need to know whether employee has been to Spain or another COVID hotspot and insist they do not come in for 14 days – otherwise other employees are at risk.”