What do working parents do now schools are closed?
The government made the decision to shut schools from Friday 20th March for the foreseeable future in a bid to try and delay the spread of Coronavirus throughout the UK. In turn, this has put additional pressure on families with working parents, especially those who are unable to work from home.
The decision was made to close all childcare settings, schools and colleges to reduce the risk of the Coronavirus spreading to the vulnerable individuals in our society.
In order to continue the fight against the virus, schools and childcare providers have been asked to continue to provide their services to a small number of children whose parents or guardians are critical to providing essential services during the pandemic.
The full critical workers list can be found on the government website. Some of the key workers listed are those who work in the following areas:
- Health and social workers
- Education and childcare
- Key public services
- Local and national government
- Food and other necessary goods
- Public safety and national security
I’m not a critical worker and I’m unable to work from home… what do I do?
Employers have an obligation to offer Parental leave. Unless your contract of employment says otherwise, parental leave is unpaid, and you’re entitled to a total of 18 weeks leave for each child or adopted child up until the age of 18. There is a set limit of 4 weeks to be taken in any year, unless otherwise agreed by your employer.
Your employment rights (pay, holidays and returning to work) are all protected while you are on parental leave. It is important to remember that parental leave applies to each child, and not an individual employer. For example, if you’ve got one child and have taken 8 weeks parental leave with a previous employer, the maximum you can take with your new employer is 10 weeks, subject to you being eligible.
The government website states that you qualify for parental leave if you meet the following criteria:
- You’ve worked for your current employer for more than a year
- You’re named on the child’s birth or adoption certificate or you are expected to have parental responsibility for the child
- You are not self-employed or a ‘worker’, eg an agency worker or contractor
- You’re not a foster parent (unless they’ve secured parental responsibility through the courts)
- The child you have parental responsibility for is under 18
Your employer may require that any requests for parental leave be made in writing with at least 21 days’ notice. Check your contract of employment and any policy that may set this out however given these unprecedented circumstances, employers may be prepared to a take a more pragmatic approach and relax any requirements.
Your contract of employment should state any special benefits or requirements regarding leave for childcare, but remember if eligible, you are legally entitled to parental leave.
If you have any questions regarding parental leave or your contract of employment, please don’t hesitate to contact our Employment Law team on 02392 981 000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Unfair dismissal
- Wrongful dismissal
- Unlawful discrimination
- Harassment and victimisation
- Equal pay
- Unlawful deduction of wages
- Breaches of contract
- Protected disclosures (whistle blowing)
- Transfer of undertaking (TUPE)
- Settlement agreements
Sports and Football Law
- Contracts of Employment
- Service Agreements
- Contractual Issues
- Executive Departures
"Over the years, I have developed a great trust in my working relationship with Mike Dyer, Head of Commercial Law at Verisona. One of the things I value most is that he is always at the end of a phone. On the rare occasions he is unavailable, his secretary is always well informed and very helpful. Through Mike, I have met many other members of Verisona and, just like in the recruitment industry, they understand the importance of being treated like an individual. They make me feel valued and important to both them and their business. At Verisona, you always deal with real people who you know and are in a position to help. Most importantly, Verisona delivers. We recently had an urgent situation regarding the restrictive covenants of new members of staff. Employment specialist Susan Ball came in on a day off to listen to us, dissect and analyse the situation, and translate what we wanted to achieve into the best possible legal language and solution. This is just one example of the calm, efficient professionalism I have come to value from Verisona over the years. Verisona has a refreshing approach to the law. They are there when we need them, always easy to talk to, go out of their way to make sure that we understand what they are doing for us and why, and always get the best results".
Legally enforcing the tribunal award
To enforce the Tribunal award we applied to the Defendant’s local County Court for it to be registered and for permission to enforce the award.
The Court granted the application and on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines. As a result the Tribunal award would appear as a County Court Judgment which would likely affect the Defendant’s credit rating.
Time limits for enforcing Tribunal awards
It is worth noting that there is no time restriction for registering or enforcing a Tribunal award. You can enforce one even if it is several years old. In addition, it is usually possible to claim interest on the amount until you receive payment.
A commercial business
"Thanks for all your help on this - you've been so helpful to me in guiding and explaining everything, so just to say thank you for obviously helping represent my case but also allowing me to understand the process and giving me greater awareness of what I need to be mindful of when signing future contracts".
Former employee of professional football club
Sue was easy to deal with and offered all options available. Jane was in contact beforehand to tell me what information was needed and Sue was prepared for our meeting. I cannot praise Sue and Jane enough and would have absolutely no hesitation in reommending Sue and her team.