Government refuses sick pay for those forced to quarantine after Spain trip, saying ‘no travel is risk-free’ during pandemic
People forced to self-isolate after returning from Spain are not eligible for statutory sick pay (PA)
The Government is refusing to allow holidaymakers forced to quarantine at home for two weeks after arriving back from Spain to claim statutory sick pay.
Number 10 said "no travel is risk-free" during the pandemic after they were urged to help those caught out by the sudden rule change.
And they advised anyone who loses their job due to having to self-isolate should speak to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), or claim Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "There are existing systems in place should a dispute occur between an employer and employee and that is the employee can take that dispute to Acas for settlement.”
Pressed on why they were not offering sick pay, the spokesman repeated Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s comments that they “would encourage employers to be understanding” and “flexible in accommodating their need to self-isolate”.
Labour had called for more support for those who will now need to self-isolate, and TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said "no one should suffer financially” for following official advice.
Brits were also warned "disruption is possible" when heading abroad, amid suggestions trips to France and Greece could also result in 14 days quarantine after cases of coronavirus increased in the two countries.
The PM's spokesman added: "Decisions on border measures and travel advice can be changed rapidly if necessary to help stop the spread of the disease.
"Unfortunately no travel is risk-free during this pandemic and disruption is possible and so anyone travelling abroad should be aware that our travel advice and exemption list is under constant review as we monitor the international situation."
It comes after Spanish foreign minister Aránzazu González Laya insisted the country is “safe for tourists” despite the UK Government’s decision.
She sought to reassure tourists and argue for the exclusion of the Balearic and Canary Islands from the quarantine rules - which will force holidaying Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to spend two weeks at home when he gets back from Spain.
Mr Raab had said it was “absolutely necessary” to impose the measures with with only a few hours notice on Saturday night.
And he rejected concerns that those unable to work due to the freshly imposed quarantine rules risked being penalised by their employer, insisting that those self-isolating “can't have penalties taken against them”.