If any of my employees can’t work from home but need to look after their children, can they be furloughed?
If you have employees who cannot work from home due to the nature of their role, or if they are unable to work (including from home) due to caring responsibilities including home-schooling because of school closures due of coronavirus, they can be furloughed for this reason, if eligible through the coronavirus job retention scheme. The government guidance on the extended scheme confirms that furlough is available to people who are required to stay home because they have childcare responsibilities resulting from coronavirus.
As an employer, do I have to consider flexible working requests?
Any employee with 26 weeks of service with the same employer has the right to make a request to work flexibly; they don’t have to be a parent or carer. By ‘Flexible Working’ the government means altering the way in which they work. This includes changing their hours, either compressing them or changing to part-time or term-time only or working entirely or partly from home. Many employers are now considering flexible working requests from day one of employment due to the current circumstances.