City solicitor says quarantine restrictions mean employees travelling overseas for family crises could be entitled to 28 extra days off

A City of London-based employment solicitor has said employees facing family emergencies overseas could have to take up to four additional weeks away from work as a result of the UK’s new quarantine requirements and similar restrictions overseas.

Kate Boguslawska, a Partner at Carter Lemon Camerons LLP, made the comments against the background of the new requirement for people arriving in the UK to quarantine themselves for two weeks in most circumstances.

Kate said: “If the reason for an employee’s essential travel is a family crisis, then it should be dealt with in line with employment law, which gives the employee the right to a reasonable amount of time off to deal with emergencies.

“Normally, two additional weeks away from the workplace would exceed the threshold of what is considered reasonable.

“However, because these additional weeks of quarantine are legal requirements and unavoidable, this extends the amount of time that it is reasonable to be away from the workplace.

“With many other countries having introduced similar quarantine requirements, this could add up to an employee reasonably needing four weeks or more away from the office, in addition to the time needed to deal with the family emergency.

“Employers will now have to be prepared to allow this time off work, as it is the employee’s statutory right to take it.”

However, she added that there is no statutory right to receive payment in such situations and very few employees will have a contractual entitlement to paid leave for family emergencies.