Furloughing staff unable to work due to school closures
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) provides grant support to enable employers to continue to pay staff who are fully or flexibly furloughed. The scheme can be used for staff who have been furloughed because they have caring responsibilities.
On 4 January 2021, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced that England would enter its third national lockdown the following day. Unlike the last lockdown, schools are also closed, other than for the children of key workers and for vulnerable children. This places a caring responsibility on parents, who need to look after their children and undertake home schooling.
If you have employees who need to care for and home school their children and who are unable to work as a result, you are able to furlough them and claim a grant under the CJRS. Likewise, where an employee needs to work fewer hours in order to fulfil their parental responsibilities while schools are closed, you can flexibly furlough the employee and use the CJRS to claim a grant for the employee’s usual hours that they do not work.
Eligible caring responsibilities
In their guidance on the CJRS, the Government have confirmed that an employee can be furloughed if their caring responsibilities mean that the employee is unable to work (including being unable to work from home) or can only work reduced hours. The guidance cites caring for children who are at home as a result of school or childcare facilities closing as an example of caring responsibilities that might arise as a result of COVID-19.
Claiming the grant
You can claim a grant of 80% of the employee’s usual wages for their unworked hours, to a maximum of £2,500 a month. Claims must be made for each calendar month by the 14th of the following month (or the next working day if this falls on the weekend).
Talk to us
If your employees are struggling to juggle childcare and their job, talk to us about the option of furloughing or flexibly furloughing them and claiming a grant through the CJRS.