Schools are scheduled to close at the end of Friday for an indefinite period and all GCSEs and A-Levels have been cancelled.

This will inevitably affect working parents and businesses, so we have collated an overview of the impact for employers as it currently stands –

  • Some schools will remain open for the children of key workers which, according to the Government announcement includes NHS staff, the policy and delivery drivers.
  • Subject to the guidance on self-isolation and social distancing businesses are still operating as far as possible and therefore employees should be working where work is available.
  • If a working parent cannot work at home and has to look after his/her children then this will be unpaid leave for emergency care of a dependent. Parents should try to arrange alternative care for their children and not just expect they can stay off work.
  • If a working parent can work at home, then they should do so if they can continue to work effectively. Employers should monitor this and where uneffective working is present, the employee may have to make alternative child care arrangements or be treated as off work on unpaid leave as per above.
  • No Statutory Sick Pay is payable just because a parent has to stay at home to look after their children – it will only be payable if they have to self-isolate as a household because one member is displaying symptoms (we are expecting new statutory sick pay provisions in the Coronavirus Bill which is due to be published next week)
  • We are advising employers with working parents who, as a business, are considering short-time working and lay off to consider both issues together – it may be possible for working parents to reduce hours to allow them to look after their children and at the same time reduce the wage bill.

For more information, resources, training and help, visit our website.