Employers should take a “sensible and compassionate” approach to staff who may have to self-isolate after travelling abroad, the Government has urged.
Local government minister Simon Clarke said the Government hopes employers will put “sensible steps in place” to support those required to self-isolate.
It comes after it was announced that travellers from Spain will be required to quarantine for 14 days on their return to the UK.
Mr Clarke told BBC Breakfast: “We all feel deeply for everyone who’s been affected by this.
By all means go on holiday, but understand that there is a chance that you might be asked to self-isolate on your returnSimon Clarke, local government minister
“We very strongly encourage employers to take a sensible and compassionate approach to people who find themselves in this situation.
“If people are in genuine crisis, then of course there is a safety net through the new employment support allowance or through Universal Credit and advances can be paid very quickly if you’re in immediate need.
“We really do hope that employers will be supportive and put sensible steps in place to accommodate people who are affected by this.
“It is, after all, through no fault of their own, so we really hope and expect employers will be supportive, but there is support there if people need it.”
Mr Clarke also said that those who travel abroad should do so with an understanding that they may be asked to self-isolate.
He said: “All holidays have to be taken understanding that foreign travel in the middle of a global pandemic which has caused devastation across the world has to be conducted against the backdrop of the Government’s right to take steps to protect the UK.
“We’ve made enormous strides in this country over the last few weeks and we have now got the situation very largely under control.
“We cannot jeopardise that, we cannot render all the sacrifices that we’ve made redundant by failing to intervene to stop risk from being reimported from abroad.
“By all means go on holiday, but understand that there is a chance that you might be asked to self-isolate on your return.”
Later, speaking on Times Radio, Mr Clarke added that there would always be “some idiots” who put other people at risk, despite high compliance with enforcement measures that have been put in place during the pandemic.
He said: “I think there is a very high degree of compliance. People generally have been incredibly helpful and sensible.
“I mean, that’s characterised the UK response really since this began back in March.
“There are always going to be, in a society of 65 million people, some idiots, frankly, some selfish idiots who put other people at risk.
“That’s the reality, yes, but it is a minority.”
Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said that people making travel arrangements need to recognise the restrictions that may be placed upon them by the Government on their return to the UK.
Asked on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme whether he thinks it would be irresponsible for people to book a holiday abroad, he said: “I certainly wouldn’t say irresponsible but I would say it’s not going to be without risk and we’ve seen that.
“So if people are making travel arrangements, then they need to recognise that the Government will introduce measures that might restrict what they can do when they return if there’s a spike in the country that they’re going to.
“And people do need to think about what that means for getting back to work, whether they’ve got proper cover in place from their employment that they’re not forced on to either statutory sick pay or even on to a Universal Credit application just to cover the bills, because for many people that sends them into severe financial pressures.”