Last night’s announcement by the Prime Minister was expected by many, but has left many confused, worried and unsure about whether the news is welcomed or not.
There is no doubt that something needed to be done to stop the spread of the new variant of the virus, however the timing could have been better, especially for working parents. Here at Tiger Law many of our staff have young families, so can understand the worry of trying to juggle home-schooling and work, as well as the mental health of all in the household. Thankfully, as a company that works mainly remotely, we are able to adapt easier than many, and we are also flexible so that our families are not left behind.
Thousands of parents however will not be able to work due to lack of childcare, and do not know where they stand with their business or employer. Here is a quick round up of the guidance issued by the Government, which will mainly affect working parents*.
1. People should only leave home if they have a ‘reasonable’ reason to do so, which includes work if you are unable to work from home. However, parents may also leave home to meet others that they have formed a support bubble with or a childcare bubble. This means that you may leave home to take your child to a place that can offer informal childcare, such as grandparents, if you are unable to have your child in a professional childcare setting.
This is also a welcome relief to single parents who may rely on a partner or other person they have formed a support bubble with, to help with childcare.
For both childcare and support bubbles you must meet the eligibility criteria however, so please ensure that you have read these thoroughly before visiting another household.
Parents who share care of their children are also allowed to travel to enable the transfer of the children.
2. Financial help may be available through a number of different options, which include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme that businesses may introduce if you are unable to attend work due to childcare issues. Flexible furlough was also introduced last year, meaning that your employer may be able to reduce your hours, so that you can split childcare or work around home-schooling for example, but still remain in work.
If you are self-employed you may also be able to claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
Other options such as the New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and Universal Credit may be an option, both of which can be applied for online.
*Please note that the guidance is aimed at those who are fit and well, separate guidance has been issued for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable or those with possible and confirmed coronavirus infections.