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The decision by the government at the weekend to impose a two week quarantine on people returning from Spain, has caused confusion about what financial help may be available to those having to self isolate.

You’re not automatically entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) if you are self-isolating after returning from holiday or business travel. The government website clearly states:

“You cannot get SSP if you’re self-isolating after entering or returning to the UK and do not need to self-isolate for any other reason.”

You are only entitled to SSP if you are self isolating for the following reasons:

  • you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms
  • you’ve been notified that you’ve been in contact with someone with coronavirus
  • someone in your ‘support bubble has symptoms

Working at home

If you can work from home then you should do so and can be paid as normal. However, for many people this is not an option and one of the alternatives below may apply.

Annual leave

If you cannot work from home then you could take annual leave so you can get paid while self-isolating. However, taking two weeks more holiday will eat heavily into most people’s annual leave entitlement.

Unpaid leave

For many people, taking two weeks unpaid leave is not an option and would leave them short of money to be able to pay their mortgage or rent and other bills and financial commitments.

Employer’s sick pay

Your employer could choose to pay you sick pay, either at the statutory rate of £95.85 a week or a higher level, but this would be at their discretion.


If employees have previously been furloughed, they could be furloughed again for the quarantine period and receive 80% of their salary. However, there is no obligation on employers to do this and, as employer contributions increase from August, they may be reluctant to do this.

If you have questions about paying employees on their return from holidays, please contact Chanelle Webb on or 01295 250401.