Ask Alys: what are my rights at work as a parent?

Covid19: UniteLive answers a key question ahead of Easter break

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As the Easter break approaches with the UK still in lockdown, many parents working from home will breathe a sigh of relief at having some time off from the competing demands of homeschooling and home working.

Others who are still sending their children to schools, which must remain open for essential workers who cannot work from home as well as for vulnerable children, will welcome that many schools are staying open over the Easter holiday.

In our latest Ask Alys Q&A, Unite solicitor Alys Cunningham gives an overview of your rights at work if you have children.


What are my rights at work as a parent?


Schools in the UK have closed due to COVID-19 aside from vulnerable children and children of health, care and other key workers. In these circumstances, employees are able to take that time off to help their dependants, as identified in s. 57A Employment Rights Act 1996. Specifically, there has been an unexpected disruption to the arrangements to care for the dependant, an incident at school, or where the dependant is ill. 

Unite is calling on all employers to maintain working parents’ normal pay during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Where possible and practical home care for school aged children should be balanced with home working. Home working should be paid in full.

If your employer has no work for you or has closed your workplace due to Coronavirus, they can claim funding under the new government scheme to maintain payment of wages – see our previous Ask Alys Q&A

Government guidance on maintaining educational provision for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England including the key critical workers list can be accessed here.

By Alys Cunningham, Unite solicitor

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