COVID-19: Planning in the Event of School Closures

If Britain decides to close schools and nurseries, what are your options with regards to your staff who may be affected.

Initially, time off could be taken as ‘Time Off for Dependents Leave‘. This is usually up to 2 days unpaid leave in order to make alternative arrangements (of course you can pay it at your discretion). However, it is likely this will not be enough for those staff who need more time off.

What else can you consider?

Can your staff work from home? Now is the time to look at your technology to see if this is possible. Can staff be given laptops and mobile phones? Consider tasks that can be carried out from home or projects that have been put on hold due to time but could now be done. Set up conferencing – using Skype, Zoom or Slack. Look at remote tools such as Microsoft Teams or SharePoint. Consider communications and keeping in touch.

Consider a temporary reduction in their working hours, if they can work but only for a limited time. This must be agreed by both parties.

There is the option to take holiday, unpaid leave or use time off already accumulated.

Enforced Holiday – This will not be a popular decision but it is available to you. If you require your staff to use their leave, you must give them 2 days’ notice for every day you want them to take. For example, if you require them to take a week off, you must give them 2 weeks’ notice.

Parental Leave – staff with at least 1 year’s continuous service are entitled to up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave per child up to the age of 18. 21 days notice must be given before the date on which leave is to start and must specify the dates when the leave is to begin and end.

Working flexibly and having staff on leave may not be convenient for your business, but in this unprecedented time, you will have to think creatively about how business can be done. If your staff are off work and unpaid, could you provide a loan to help them out financially?

If you have any questions, please ask us #covid-19 #flexibleworking