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Holidays and the Euros

Foreign holiday destinations

No sooner are UK citizens permitted to travel abroad for holiday, subject of course to certain conditions, than the rules seem to change, and then at very short notice.

One of the most popular holiday destinations for the British is Portugal, which was removed from the Government’s green list on Tuesday (8th June), meaning UK tourists will be expected to avoid visiting that country. Anyone returning from 8th June will be required to quarantine for 10 days on arrival back in the UK.

Obviously, the government has a responsibility to protect its citizens but this summer, whilst the situation around the coronavirus pandemic continues, will leave many employers scratching their heads, trying to decide how best to handle this situation evolving around those about to take holiday and those potentially already abroad.

And talking of Europe, we are of course about to be subject to all things football for the next fortnight, in respect of which we have something to say …

What does an employer do?

Of primary importance, employers should absolutely ensure that those employees who are required to quarantine on their return to the UK, do so no matter what the impact will be on the company.

Those who are able or who have been working from home, of course, will be able to continue to do so during their 10 day quarantine period.

Where employees are required to attend their place of work (perhaps because they’re unable to work from home) they can either: (i) ask their employees to take further paid holiday; or (ii) take other paid or unpaid time off.

Where employees purposely book a holiday to a country on the amber list, thereby obligating them to quarantine on their return home, they may well find themselves in a situation where they are not paid for that quarantine period.

Going forwards

in terms of holiday, we are in a state of flux, but with so much uncertainty employers should at least consider having a consistent policy dealing with how quarantine time will be treated.

Given this uncertainty, we would suggest it makes a great deal of sense for employees to fully understand where they stand in terms of foreign holiday trips. That said, it will be very important for any employer to consider the personal circumstances of each employee at the material time, which is especially important in the context of potential discrimination issues.

Euros 2020

A year late, for understandable reasons, but love it or loathe it, UEFA’s European football championships is upon us – Friday 11 June, for those who still need to book a table!

The national football teams in each of England, Scotland and Wales have all qualified for the tournament and England and Scotland even play each other on 18th June at 8 PM. Accordingly, there is likely to be a lot of interest amongst the workforce of many UK businesses.

Whilst no employer wants to be seen as a killjoy, it remains sensible to set out some ground rules from the outset. On the negative side, it would be a good idea to ensure that employees are in no doubt that their duties come first and that those intending to pull a sickie in order to watch a match – or those who have to pull a sickie for having done so the day before – disciplinary action may follow.

Employers should be alive to the risk of potential discrimination on two main grounds: Firstly, in terms of the arrangements made for supporters of any given team, this should be consistent for everyone, regardless of nationality; and secondly, it should be made crystal-clear that harassment associated with any given match (e.g. hostile racist comments or chants) will not be tolerated.

But, particularly with the year we have all had, the prospect of a little bit of fun and excitement may actual go a long way to improving morale. If employers can, perhaps arrangements could be made to show key matches, dress codes can be relaxed and sweepstakes could be permitted, to lighten the mood.

C’mon …