Coronavirus Spain quarantine: Can I claim statutory sick pay when I self-isolate after returning from Spain?

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot

Travellers returning from Spain will have to self-isolate for 14 days after the government re-imposed strict measures amid an increase in coronavirus cases in the UK's top holiday destination.

Mainland Spain and the Balearic and Canary Islands are covered by the quarantine rules and the Foreign Office is warning against all but essential travel to the mainland.

The strict new rules were imposed at midnight, just six hours after the news emerged on Saturday, meaning many holidaymakers already in Spain will need to quarantine on their return to the UK.

The advice changed after a surge of cases was reported in several regions in Spain, but particularly in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia – which include the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona.

On both Friday and Saturday more than 900 coronavirus cases were recorded in Spain.

As many Brits will now have to stay home for two weeks when they return from Spain – what does this mean for those who cannot travel to work or work from home?

If you have to self-isolate and you cannot work, can you claim statutory sick pay?

Can I claim statutory sick pay when I self-isolate after returning from Spain?

The official advice from the government is that you are not entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) if you’re self-isolating after entering or returning to the UK.

The government is relying on the goodwill of employers.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said no worker following quarantine guidance should be penalised by employers, including by being put onto sick pay, adding: “We are changing the rules – the law is changed in relation to holidaymakers and travellers – and of course we expect employers show those employees who will have to quarantine because of the law the flexibility they need.

“If someone is following the law in relation to quarantine and self-isolating the way they should, they can’t have penalties taken against them."

Travellers will have to quarantine for 14 days when they return from Spain. Credit: PA

A government spokesperson “We urge employers to show flexibility to employees who will have to self-isolate due to the changes to quarantine rules.

“No employee should be penalised for following the rules and self-isolating.”

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the lack of sick pay will mean many people will be forced to go to work, when they should be self-isolating.

"There are a whole raft of people who cannot afford to isolate because of the circumstances of their employment and if it comes to a choice between putting food on your table and feeding your family or losing your job, you're going to put food on your table aren't you?," Mr Ashworth said.

"Even if that means you're spreading the virus."

When can you claim SSP because of coronavirus?

You could get SSP if you are unable to work and you’re:

  • self-isolating because you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms

  • self-isolating because you’ve been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that you’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus

  • staying at home because you’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus – in other words ‘shielding’

You can get £95.85 per week of SSP if you’re too ill to work - it’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.