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Coronavirus: When I come back from Spain, will I get paid if I self-isolate?

People sunbathe in Arenal beach on June 16, 2020 in Palma de Mallorca (June 2020) Image copyright Getty Images

The government's decision to impose a 14-day quarantine on travellers arriving in the UK from Spain has caused "uncertainty and confusion", as one holiday firm has put it.

So, what does it mean for those visiting Spain?

Will my employer pay me if I have to isolate on return from Spain? Lisa, Horsham

It will depend on individual employers.

You're not automatically entitled to statutory sick pay if you are self-isolating after returning from holiday or business travel, industrial relations body Acas says.

You should tell your boss as soon as possible and ask them about the company's policy.

If you can work from home, for instance, then you can be paid as normal. But if you can't, another solution could be to take annual leave so you can get holiday pay while self-isolating.

Your employer could choose to pay you sick pay, either at the statutory rate or a higher level.

However, if you have coronavirus or its symptoms and have to self-isolate, then you are eligible for statutory sick pay, which pays £95.85 per week.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: "If there are people who need urgent support then they may be entitled to the new-style employment support allowance or universal credit."

Is my insurance valid if I'm already there?

The Association of British Insurers says existing insurance is likely to cover holidaymakers who were in Spain when the government's advice changed.

But it added travelling against Foreign Office advice is likely to invalidate travel insurance.

A hotel I've booked online in Majorca is closed. Can I reject the offer of an alternative and get a full refund? Christian Evans

Image copyright AFP

Under the regulations, if an online travel agent makes any significant change to your holiday - such as flight times or the hotel - they should tell you and give you a reasonable period of time to accept it, or cancel with a full refund.

Additionally, the regulations allow you to claim a refund for any trip to a destination with a Foreign and Commonwealth Office warning against it, such as Spain currently.

For refunds on other booked holidays, consult your airline, tour operator or travel agent.

Tui customers due to travel anywhere in Spain between 27 July and 9 August can cancel or amend holidays and receive a full refund or the option to rebook. People with holidays booked from 10 August will be updated on 31 July.

Jet2 has cancelled flights to the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands on Tuesday 28 July, as well as mainland Spain. It advised customers not to travel to the airport.

Other firms such as British Airways and EasyJet are maintaining their flight schedules.

People whose trips are cancelled should get a refund within two weeks, but there may be a delay.

Image copyright EPA

What are the quarantine rules for when I return?

When you arrive back in the UK, you must go straight home or to other suitable accommodation. You are allowed to travel by public transport.

Your 14-day period of self-isolation starts from the day after you arrive.

You cannot leave home except for medical assistance, to attend court or go to a funeral - or to go shopping for essentials, if no-one else can do this for you.

Leaving home for work, exercise or socialising is not allowed.

In England, there are some other reasons you can leave your accommodation.

These include:

  • Accessing ''critical public services'' like social services and victim support services
  • Visiting a dying or critically ill family member
  • In an emergency

What happens if people break quarantine rules?

People can be fined up to £1,000 for breaking quarantine rules.

However, the National Police Chiefs' Council says that as of 20 July, only one person has been fined for not self-isolating after arriving in England.

How long will the new rules last?

It is difficult to say, as the government is reviewing nations on its "safe level" for travel every week.

Which? magazine travel editor Rory Boland told BBC News that in this instance an update may come sooner, as travel "is so important to UK travellers and to the economy of Spain".


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