The rules regarding overseas travel in the UK continue to change as the Government adds and removes countries from the COVID red list.

With much uncertainty about worker’s holiday destinations this year, Sutton Coldfield-based HR Caddy has said that employers must prepare themselves for the upheaval that these sudden changes may create.

Although the Government is encouraging people to ‘staycation’ this year, many are hopeful of some time under the sun overseas as the summer holidays approach.

However, the recent decision to suddenly place popular destinations such as Portugal on the red list will have left some employers wondering what happens if an employee is stuck overseas or forced to quarantine for extended periods.

Louise Long, Senior HR Consultant at HR Caddy, said: “All eyes are on the Government’s next foreign travel announcement, which is due to take place on 24 June, as families try to plan trips abroad this summer.

“However, as recent events have shown, even destinations currently considered to be safe can change overnight, leaving holidaymakers trapped overseas or stuck in quarantine.

“This can make it challenging for employers, who are often left to cover unexpected time off at the last minute.”

Louise said that employers should try to communicate with employees about their holiday plans and put in place contingencies that take into consideration unexpected absences due to a change in travel arrangements.

“In some cases, employers and employees may be able to extend a paid holiday period if they can agree to this and the worker has sufficient annual leave remaining.

“If they don’t then they may need to take this additional time as paid leave and should account for these changes in their holiday plans so that they can communicate with their employer easily if the circumstances of their trip suddenly differ. “

Louise added that the general notice period for taking leave should be at least twice as long as the amount of leave a worker wants to take, plus one day.

She added that employers can refuse a leave request or cancel leave but they must give as much notice as the amount of leave requested plus one day as well.

“Although employers can refuse to give leave at a certain time, they cannot withhold annual leave from an employee indefinitely and should ensure employees take the number of paid days leave each year that is dictated within their contract and required by law,” added Louise.

“Arrangements for annual leave may differ from one business to another and will usually be dictated within an employee’s contract.”

HR Caddy is advising employers and employees to work together to ensure both the needs of the business are met and the rights of each worker are respected during the holiday season.

To find out how HR Caddy can help you with employment contracts and issues related to annual leave, please contact us.