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Balancing Home Schooling and Working

We are now into our second week of schools being shut, and as a parent working from home with two children, I can appreciate the pressure on working parents to effectively do their job and manage home-schooling, it can be tough. It is so important for open and honest communications between employers and employees to manage this situation in the best way possible.

If an employee is struggling to meet targets or deadlines because of childcare, conversations do need to be had, to benefit both parties, so let’s look at some options available to the employer to consider and discuss with their employees.

Government Furlough Scheme:

Often employers forget that the government furlough guidelines allow employees to receive furlough for childcare responsibilities.

This is great news for not only working parents as this can be a stressful time to balance work and childcare, but also beneficial for employers to enable them to give that flexibility to their employees to work full time, part time, or a mixture of both depending on their caring responsibilities.

For example:

Jon, who works full time, has a 7-year-old who is being home-schooled, Jon’s wife, Sue, also works full time and they are struggling to balance home-schooling and attending zoom calls and carrying out their daily work responsibilities. Jon, Sue and the employer have a few options they could discuss to find a solution. These could be:

1. Flexible furlough - Jon and Sue agree with their respective employees’ flexible furlough e.g. Jon works mornings Sue works afternoons, therefore Jon would receive 80% furlough pay for the hours he doesn’t work in the afternoon, and likewise Sue vice versa.

2. Furlough – Jon takes furlough and Sue continues to work full time, this could also be done on a flexible basis, Jon works one week full time, then has one week on furlough.

As an employer you need to consider the best way for your business to continue to operate, whilst considering the welfare and needs of your employees, communication is key when managing this situation.

Full details of the furlough scheme can be found on the government website:

The key points to consider are:

· The employee must have been employed as of the 31st October 2020

· You must have submitted an RTI (Real Time Information) between 20th March – 30th October 2020.

Flexible Working

Flexible working can only work if the role does not dictate specific hours. If this is the case, then an option would be to consider re-scheduling of hours. Can work be carried out either side of their normal working hours?

For example:

After a discussion with Jon regarding balancing his workload and home-schooling, you agree that he only attends relevant zoom meetings, and you are happy for him to manage his workload outside of normal business hours. You both agree this will be reviewed on a weekly basis and, if applicable, you advise Jon’s colleagues of this temporary arrangement, so they understand his availability.

We believe at Twin Oaks HR that is important to remember that one parents home-schooling experience can be completely different to another person, so the ability to manage work can vary widely, it is important to keep channels of communication open and support all your employees.

These processes may seem daunting, but we are here to guide you through and provide you with the relevant correspondence for the temporary changes.

Katie & Kelly

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