In quarantine after holiday: who has to pay the wages?
Topicality | 6 August 2020
The holiday season is approaching again. Is your employee going on holiday to a country with code yellow as travel advisory? What are the consequences if this employee falls ill or has to be quarantined during the holiday?
Travel to code yellow countries
Code yellow countries are countries that have more or less the same infection risks as the Netherlands. The local rules for keeping sufficient distance, hand hygiene and wearing face masks are also similar to those in the Netherlands. Code yellow countries for instance are Germany, France and Italy.
Sick in a code yellow country?
If an employee falls ill during a stay in a code yellow country – it does not matter whether he has simply fallen ill or has contracted corona – he will report sick and is then on sick leave, in which case the employer has an obligation to continue paying his wages.
Repatriation from a code yellow country
The Government will no longer repatriate people from a code yellow country who have contracted corona. If someone takes the risk of going to a code yellow country, this is his own risk. It is also important to check the policy conditions of the health care insurance to see what will be reimbursed.
Travel to code orange countries
Code orange countries themselves indicate that Dutch tourists are not welcome (yet), or the Dutch government indicates that the risk of infection with the coronavirus in that country is even higher than in the Netherlands. Holiday trips to code orange countries are therefore not advised against.
Repatriation from a code orange country
The Dutch Government does not help with repatriation from a code orange country either. But travel organizations have to repatriate travellers who have booked a package holiday with them. This means that in the situation where the country in question goes from code yellow to code orange, people will be repatriated, but this only applies for travellers with package holidays from travel organizations. So not in case of self-booked trips.
If an employee goes to a code orange country, the Government urgently advises to go in quarantine for two weeks immediately upon arrival back in the Netherlands. An employee who consciously chooses to go on holiday to a code orange country therefore knows that he will have to go in quarantine after his return. If he can work from home, this is not a problem. If he cannot work from home, he therefore cannot work. Because he knows this in advance, the employee may take the position that the cause that the employee does not perform his work lies in his own sphere of risk. This may mean that the relevant employee is not entitled to continued payment of salary during the period that he is in quarantine. Another option is that the employee takes days off during the quarantine period.
Quarantine: from code yellow to code orange
If a country goes from code yellow to code orange during the holiday, as a result of which the employee has to go in quarantine during the holiday or after his return, this in principle is not in the employee’s sphere of risk. This may be different if there were signals beforehand that the country’s code might change from yellow to orange.
Inform your employees in writing in advance of the consequences if they go on holiday to a code orange country and then have to be quarantined. This way, the employee knows in advance where he stands, and can adjust his choices and actions accordingly.
As with the code yellow countries, if the employee contracts corona or otherwise falls ill during his holiday, you as his employer must continue paying his wages.
No labour, but wage payment continues
Since 1 January 2020, the main rule in Dutch law has changed from ‘no labour, no wage’ to ‘no labour, but wage payment continues’. The latter is only different if the cause for the non-performance of the work is at the risk and expense of the employee. The burden of proof for this lies with the employer.
Travel to code red countries
Code red countries are almost completely closed to travellers. Travelling to such countries is seriously advised against, because ‘life-threatening situations may arise’, for example because the country is at war. Your employee will not go on holiday there.
Do you want to know which countries are yellow, orange or red? Then visit the website Netherlands Worldwide, a website of the Dutch Government.