Are employees who are self-quarantining following a foreign holiday entitled to SSP?Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 6 July 2020
The rules on self-quarantine following over-seas travel do not apply universally to the UK and are a devolved matter, which means employers need to tread carefully to ensure that they are following Norther Ireland specific guidance. Therefore, the more relaxed approach taken by England is not currently reflected in Northern Ireland.
Under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020, individuals returning to the UK following overseas travel (excluding travel from within the common travel area) are required to quarantine for 14 days. Unlike those self-isolating in accordance with public health guidance, individuals who are self-quarantining are not expressly deemed incapable of work for the purposes of SSP entitlement.
This means that the current position remains that SSP is only payable in the following circumstances:
- An employee has symptoms of coronavirus and is staying at home for seven days, beginning with the day on which the symptoms started (day 1).
- An employee is in the same household or extended household with someone who is self-isolating (as above) and is staying at home for 14 days, beginning with day 1 or until the person with those symptoms receives notification that they have tested negative for coronavirus.
- An employee is already self-isolating due to a household or extended household member having symptoms and during this isolation, they also develop the symptoms of coronavirus, and is staying at home for seven days, beginning with the day the symptoms started.
- An employee is defined in public health guidance as extremely clinically vulnerable and at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus and has been notified that they must follow rigorous shielding measures for the period specified in the notification.
- An employee who ceased shielding but receives a further notification advising them to shield again for an additional period
- An employee has been notified that they have come into contact with a person who, at the time of the contact, had coronavirus.
Therefore, the current legislation would only permit an employee to receive SSP during quarantine following overseas travel if they also fall into one of the above scenarios.
The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.