Employing parents during covid

Tuesday 12th January 2021

HMRC have revised their guidance to make it clear that it is permissible to place parents with children at home and carers of clinically extremely vulnerable adults who live with the carers on furlough. This may be of assistance to a number of businesses and employees as not all schools are following Government guidance regarding the allocation of school places to key workers.

Where employees are able to work from home employers should be allowing them to do so and providing the necessary equipment to enable working from home.

Bearing in mind some home workers will have to be looking after children and dealing with elements of home schooling (not all schools are providing live lessons) employers are going to have to be a little more relaxed regarding performance requirements. Rather than simply accept lower performance levels employers have a variety of tools that they can implement to assist their employees whilst maintaining performance. The primary tool is flexibility – allowing work to be done outside of traditional working hours. Other tools include looking at efficiency – how much of the box ticking and red tape is actually required, can tasks/projects be streamlined in any way? Can technology assist in making tasks easier to complete?

Employers may not wish to agree to permanent flexible working arrangements but temporary ones can be agreed without the “formal” flexible working procedure being implemented. It is important that any temporary changes are recorded in writing and a time limit placed on them even if it is a time limit for further review.

The most important thing to remember is communication. The employment relationship is not a one way street. Employees may need flexibility but also need to continue to provide the services they are paid for as there is a danger that businesses could fail and there is no job at the end of it all. Therefore expectations and boundaries should be agreed and clear. This avoids those end of the tether moments where one or the other party feels they are being taken advantage of.

For assistance with your employment law needs contact a member of employment team on 01384 811811 – we give practical legal advice.