Employment - School Closures
We are truly living in unprecedented times and employers should certainly be live to the possibility of school closures (or year groups and classes being sent home) and the impact this may have on its workforce.
As it currently stands employees are entitled to a “reasonable” amount of time off to look after children. This has historically been used in circumstances in which employees need to take unexpected and generally short term leave. The current position is unlikely to be short term however and may entirely depend on the availability of a covid-19 test and the length of time to get the results back.
Some workers may be able to work at home but this does not apply to all job sectors. It is also worthwhile noting that the ability to effectively work from home will be greatly hampered by having caring responsibilities for children during the day. Employers are encouraged to consider flexible working arrangements to allow employees to work around such childcare commitments. Government advice is continually changings and so any agreed arrangements should be kept under review and expressed as “subject to variation”.
Looking at the situation practically, there needs to be clear and open communication between staff and employers. Early consideration should be given to employees taking annual leave, taking parental leave, possible alterations to working hours or unpaid leave if necessary.
If you require further information or advice do not hesitate to get in touch.