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Employment, furlough and childcare

The furlough scheme, previously the job retention scheme, helps to pay the wages of those who can’t work due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s aimed at supporting workers who are unable to carry out their normal job or those who are unable to work from home because of the nature of their job.

When the government closed schools without notice, childcare arrangements were thrown into chaos. Unfortunately, this position looks set to continue for some time.

As coronavirus rates continue to cause concern, there is likely to be even more pressure on parents as more businesses are forced to close.

The government has said that parents are eligible for furlough if they can’t work due to caring responsibilities.

Sarah Naylor, employment law specialist, commented: “Employers are under no obligation to furlough workers because of childcare responsibilities however, it does make good business sense to do so where at all possible. Where it isn’t possible, perhaps consider flexible working arrangements.

“It’s important to bear in mind that furloughed parents retain all their parental rights, including annual and parental leave.

“The same arrangements can also be implemented to support those that are clinically vulnerable and have been advised to shield.”

Who can I furlough?

Full-time, part-time, agency, flexible and zero-hour contract staff can all be furloughed. The only stipulation is that they must have been on your payroll on 30 October, when the extension was announced.

While workers are on furlough, they can volunteer or take up jobs with another employer, providing it does not break the terms of their employment contract with you. They are also able to take part in training. What they’re not allowed to do, is work for you in any other capacity.


If you find you are forced to lay people off, where there are 100 or more people being made redundant, then you must have group meetings at least 45 days before any of the jobs end.

Restructure and redundancy information can be found on our website.

If you need legal advice, either as an employer or an employee, contact our team for a confidential, no obligation chat about your options and the support we can offer – call 01302 32061 or email