Prior to the announcement that most Covid-19 restrictions will be removed in the UK from 19th July, our options for travelling abroad have increased, meaning your employees may, now be looking forward to their Summer Holidays.
Different to any other year, employee holidays are going to be much different than they ever have been. This guide is available to help you manage those leaving the country and returning:
Thousands of people who had previously booked holidays for 2020, were forced to cancel or postpone their plans until flights could resume, this means that the Summer of 2021 is set to see two years worth of holiday makers jetting away during our summer months.
Not only those who had already planned holidays will be taking a break this summer, many families who have been apart or have been confined to their homes for nearly 18 months, will be looking forward to the opportunity to have some time away from home to relax and recharge.
As an employer, this could have a strained effect on your resources during peak times (July & August). It is important to utilize your annual leave policy for handling requests and perhaps, if possible, offer some leniency to accommodate the unusual circumstances we are in.
"Our workforces have really had to adapt and adjust during the pandemic, some have been launched into working environments they're not familiar with, which, in many cases has had a negative effect on their well-being. Taking time away from home and work life to re-charge is really important, without the chance to, you may find that your employees experience 'burnout' after a period of continuous working. We recommend planning in advance for absences and to be as open as possible to accommodate." - Vicky Huthart, Founder & CEO, Tribe HR & Recruitment Services Ltd
The rules and restrictions for travel between certain countries is changing constantly, it is important to review these rules based on the travel dates and not the dates of booking. This section explains the current rules on employee quarantine as of 14th July 2021 and apply only to travel in England.
Entering the UK
On entry to the UK, all travelers will be required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test and a passenger locater form, these are required by border control and are not documents that an employer would ordinarily need or ask to see.
If you do wish to see proof of a negative test on your employees return, this must be clearly documented in your annual leave policy and permission must be obtained from the employee. It is not a given right for employers to access this information and you may have to provide a reasonable excuse for your request if it was to be challenged.
Green List Countries
Returning from travel to Green list countries does not require quarantine on arrival in the UK, however, an additional PCR test is required by border control on the second day after arrival.
It is likely, and sensible, for employees to be required to isolate at home between their arrival and their cleared PCR test.
Amber List Countries
Returning from travel to an Amber list country requires, by law, a 10 day home quarantine period, as well as two additional PCR tests.
Red List Countries
Returning from travel to Red list countries requires, by law, a 10 day hotel quarantine period, as well as two additional PCR tests.
Fully vaccinated employees
From 19th July 2021, it has been confirmed that those who have had both vaccinations will not be required to isolate from amber list countries. As an employer, you must consider how you will access or confirm information about employees vaccination history.
With the disruption to many flight paths, it may be more likely that travelers will need to return to the UK via other countries, if this is the case, the employee will need to follow the instructions of the countries they have passed through, for example, if they took a holiday in a green country but traveled home via a red country, they will be required to isolate in a hotel for 10 days.
Outside of managing your work resources during the time of annual leave for each employee, it is also important to consider the impact that any quarantine periods may have on the business, some things to consider are:
It is an offence to require an employee who has been instructed to isolate to attend the workplace. Although this may cause difficulties, it is important to plan ahead and to adhere to the regulations upon you as an employer.
These changes are likely to differ greatly from your current annual leave policy, so it is a good idea to review this to recognize these changes and to communicate these to your employees.
Our team of HR Case Managers are highly experienced in writing bespoke policies for your workplace and to help you consider a range of eventualities that you will need to be prepared for.
Our prices for single policies start from as little as £35, speak to one our team today who will be happy to recommend the best solution for your business.