Lockdown 3.0, furlough and childcare
Here we go again: we’re back in lockdown! The Prime Minister has suggested that England could begin to move out of lockdown from mid-February. However, reading between the lines, this most recent lock down will probably last until at least March 2021. This will ensure that the vaccine has reached the most vulnerable groups and had an opportunity to take effect. But how does this new lockdown affect parents, furlough and childcare.
We know that furlough remains available at the moment, at least until the end of April 2021. So that provides some security, as well as grants of up to £9,000 per property for retail, hospitality and leisure.
Furlough and childcare
What has been emphasised on this new lockdown is the availability of furlough for those with childcare needs arising from this resurgence of the virus, so it is likely that staff who are struggling with home schooling, or childcare arrangements more generally, are going to be proactively seeking to be furloughed.
There is no obligation on employers to furlough an employee at their request, but all employers need to be wary of potential indirect sex discrimination claims from female members of staff who find their roles unsustainable if they are required to work and provide childcare, so each request must be considered very carefully.