HMRC has confirmed that employees with childcare responsibilities can be put onto the ‘furlough’ scheme if they are unable to work due to school closures and thus having extra childcare and homeschooling responsibilities.
The Check which employees you can put on furlough guidance has recently been updated to reflect that you can furlough employees who:
- have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus, such as caring for children who are at home as a result of school and childcare facilities closing, or caring for a vulnerable individual in their household.
This latest update to the scheme appears to have provided a resolution to previous confusion around whether working parents affected by school closures were eligible for the furlough scheme.
The furlough scheme currently runs until the end of April 2021. The Trades Union Congress has pleaded with Employers to furlough struggling parents so they do not have to juggle work and home-schooling responsibilities. The furlough scheme offers a sensible alternative to unpaid leave or reducing staff hours, whilst ensuring that parents can utilise the hours in the working day to ensure children that are currently disallowed into schools are monitored, cared for and educated at home.
HR Magazine reports that some UK firms are even starting to offer fully-paid “lockdown leave” to help ease the pressure off working parents, and increasing leave allowance for staff who are juggling childcare and work.
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