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Updated staff FAQ: International travel and self-isolation / quarantine

06 Aug 2020

Frequently asked questions are updated regularly

This advice is correct at the time of publication of this news article.

If you have health concerns then you should refer to the NHS website as recommended by Public Health England. For other queries regarding the current situation, email coronavirus-info@manchester.ac.uk.

We have updated the following question in the coronavirus staff FAQ:

Do I still have to self-isolate / quarantine for 14 days if I return to the UK from international travel?  If so, is this counted as paid sick leave or do I have to take unpaid leave?

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel, however travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.  This advice is being kept under constant review and some travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice, so check the government’s travel guidance.

Permission to travel internationally on University business can be given only by members of the Senior Leadership Team in exceptional circumstances. Before booking any international travel on University business you must speak to your line manager to determine whether travel is essential or could be postponed until a later date. You can find FAQs on University business travel and insurance here.

If you do decide to travel overseas, whether on approved University business or for personal reasons (e.g. going on holiday or visiting family), here is the approach you should take to self-isolation on your return:

Travel to countries in 'travel corridors'

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues to advise against non-essential international travel, however from 10 July 2020 British people can travel to a list of countries which it has assessed currently do not present an unacceptably high risk. These destinations are sometimes referred to as 'travel corridors'.

From 10 July, if you travel to one of these countries you do not have to self-isolate on arrival back in England - as long as these are the only places you have been to, or stopped in, during the previous 14 days. If you go to one of these destinations and on your return to England you display coronavirus symptoms or test positive for coronavirus, you should follow government advice and self-isolate for ten days. If you are well enough to work from home during self-isolation then you should do so. If you are not well enough to work from home you should report your absence to your line manager. You will receive full pay during this absence and it will not be counted for the purpose of any monitoring against trigger points under the Sickness Absence Policy and Procedures

Travel to 'travel corridor' countries which are removed from the list whilst you are there and will require you to self-isolate on your return

If you were travelling on University business and are able to work from home during the 14 day self-isolation period then you should do so.  If you are not able to work from home during self-isolation then you should use coronavirus special leave. If you have already used some or all of your coronavirus special leave and don’t have enough left to cover the period of self-isolation you should speak to your line manager about taking paid leave, over and above your usual annual leave allowance. If you develop coronavirus and are ill and cannot work you should report your absence to your line manager and you will receive full pay during this absence and it will not be counted for the purpose of monitoring against trigger points under the Sickness Absence Policy and Procedures

If you were travelling for personal reasons and are able to work from home during self-isolation then you should do so. If you are not able to work from home during self-isolation then you should use coronavirus special leave. If you have already used some or all of your coronavirus special leave and don’t have enough left to cover the period of self-isolation you should speak to your line manager about taking additional annual leave or applying for special leave to cover the remaining days.  If you become ill with coronavirus during self-isolation you should report your absence to your line manager. You will receive full pay during this absence and it will not be counted for the purpose of monitoring against trigger points under the Sickness Absence Policy and Procedures.

Prior to travelling, it is recommended that you discuss with your line manager your travel plans so that they are aware of any possible periods of self-isolation which may be required on your return. There is no obligation for you to do this, but it may be useful to clarify expectations of any possible self-isolation period.

Personal trips to 'travel corridor' countries which are taken off the list by the government before you travel

If you have a pre-booked personal trip which is subsequently impacted by a government announcement and you decide to continue with your travel plans knowing you will have to self-isolate on your return, if you are able to work from home during self-isolation then you should do so. If you continue with your travel plans but are not able to work from home during the required self-isolation period, then you should use coronavirus special leave. If you have already used some or all of your coronavirus special leave you should speak to your line manager about taking special leave, annual leave or unpaid leave to cover the remaining self-isolation period.  If you become ill with coronavirus during self-isolation you should report your absence to your line manager. You will receive full pay during this absence and it will not be counted for the purpose of monitoring against trigger points under the Sickness Absence Policy and Procedures

Travel to countries outside 'travel corridors'

The University strongly advises against international travel and any requests for such travel on University business must be agreed by a member of the Senior Leadership Team before being booked. If you are given permission to travel on University business to a country not on the travel corridor list, coronavirus regulations mean that you must self-isolate for 14 days when you return to the UK.

If you have travelled on University business and are able to work from home during self-isolation then you should do so. If you are not able to work from home during self-isolation then you should use coronavirus special leave. If you develop coronavirus and are ill and cannot work you should report your absence to your line manager and you will receive full pay during this absence and it will not be counted for the purpose of monitoring against trigger points under the Sickness Absence Policy and Procedures

If you have travelled for personal reasons and are not able to work from home during the necessary self-isolation period, you will be asked to use any remaining annual leave, special leave and/or unpaid leave to cover this period. You should discuss these options with your line manager.  If you become ill with coronavirus during self-isolation you should report your absence to your line manager. You will receive full pay during this absence and it will not be counted for the purpose of monitoring against trigger points under the Sickness Absence Policy and Procedures.

Prior to travelling, we recommend that you discuss with your line manager your travel plans so that they are aware of any possible periods of self-isolation which may be required on your return.  There is no obligation for you to do this, but it may be useful to clarify expectations of any possible self-isolation period.

Travel to countries outside 'travel corridors' which combines both University business and personal travel

You may be travelling partly on University business and partly for personal reasons (e.g. you have decided to extend a University business trip to take a holiday or visit family). If government regulations require you to self-isolate on your return, you should discuss with your line manager before you travel what proportion of any self-isolation period will be made up of working from home, coronavirus special leave, special leave, annual leave, paid leave or unpaid leave. From an insurance point of view, the personal travel element of any combined University business/personal travel trip should be no more than 50% of the business period (or a maximum of seven days), otherwise you would have to make your own travel insurance arrangements. 

Prior to travelling, it is recommended that you discuss with your line manager your travel plans so that they are aware of any possible periods of self-isolation which may be required on your return. There is no obligation for you to do this, but it may be useful to clarify expectations of any possible self-isolation period.

More information