With the announcement that those holidaying in Spain will need to quarantine for 14 days on their return, workers and employers are concerned about the impact of overseas holidays on their employees’ availability. With businesses trying to get back to some sort of normality, the idea that people may be forced to stay away from work to quarantine is difficult. At our London recruitment agency, we’ve spoken to office support workers (both permanent and temporary) who have overseas holidays booked this summer. We asked what their employer thinks and is requesting.
No choice but to cancel
Liam has recently returned to work following furlough and was due to go to Spain next week with his family. “I’ve had no choice but to cancel,” he sighs. “My job can’t easily be done from home. I’ve just been furloughed for months. Although my employer has said I can go and take unpaid leave to quarantine, I feel it wouldn’t be fair on them. We’re disappointed, but we also can’t afford for me to miss out on two weeks’ pay.”
More working from home
Lisa is a PA to a financial executive in the City. “Some of us had started going to the office a little more,” she explains. “I’m due back from Spain at the end of August. I initially thought I’d have to cancel or extend my leave. However, my employer has said I can work from home again for the duration of my quarantine. I’m glad as I’m desperate for a holiday.”
No clear decision
Simon has been working in various temporary jobs in London since March due to losing his job. “My family and I are going to France,” he told us. “It should be fine, and we shouldn’t need to quarantine. But I’m worried. What if France starts to experience a second wave and the government announce quarantine for there? I wouldn’t be able to start a new temp job. But I just don’t know. And not being in permanent employment, I can’t ask my employer what they want me to do.”
We’re carrying on
Mia has been working in customer service, one of the most in-demand office support jobs in London at the moment. “To be honest, I’ve got to get away,” she admits. “It’s been a crazy few months with incredibly long hours. I need a break, so I’m going ahead regardless. My employer is being very vague about what people in my position should do. I’ve decided to deal with it as it comes. My job can be done from home, with some support. If they aren’t willing to give us some support after how we’ve gone above and beyond during Covid-19, then I’m not sure I want to work there anymore.”
“We were meant to go away in May,” Zoey told us. “That got postponed until August. Now there’s this change again. We just don’t feel confident travelling at the moment, so we’re postponing our trip until next Easter. Hopefully, things will be more under control by then, or a vaccine will have been developed. It won’t feel like a holiday at the moment if we have to wear masks on the beach, or if I’m coming back to quarantine. So this is the right decision for us.”
What can employers do?
We’ve had numerous employers get in touch for cover over the summer because of the new quarantine requirements. Talk to your employer and see what they’re prepared to do. Communicating your concerns is the best approach. Don’t assume anything.
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