Schools are now back open in the UK. And while it’s good news for everyone that things are getting back to normal, it does mean potential problems for employers like you…
That’s because kids might be sent home from school without notice if someone in their class ‘bubble’ tests positive for the coronavirus. And if that happens, your staff might need time away from work, too.
We asked our legal expert how employers should manage this tricky situation. Here’s what they said…
Our HR expert’s answer
If your employee’s child is sent home because someone in their ‘bubble’ has tested positive for coronavirus, then your employee doesn’t automatically need to self-isolate.
Unless they have symptoms or their child starts to develop symptoms, your employee would go to work as normal. If your employee or their child does develop symptoms, they’d need to self-isolate and follow the government’s stay at home guidance.
However, if the child has no symptoms, things become a little more complex. That’s because your employee might struggle to find suitable childcare arrangements under current social distancing guidelines.
In line with the law, your employee has a right to take time off for dependants if their usual childcare arrangements break down. This means they can leave work or not attend work to make new arrangements for their child, and this time off is unpaid.
However, time off for dependants covers only one or two days, it doesn’t cover time off to care for the child, meaning your employee might still need two weeks away from work.
Of course, if they’re already working from home, they could continue to do so for that two-week duration. Or you could always offer homeworking to them as a suitable option.
But if that’s not possible, you might consider letting your employee temporarily change their working hours. For example, they could work in the evenings or at weekends when their partner is at home to take over the childcare.
Get expert HR support whenever you need it
If you’ve a question about the schools reopening and how this affects your staff, call BrightAdvice today.
Our friendly HR experts are available 24/7 to give you professional legal advice on any HR issue you may face. Just give them a ring on 0800 783 2806.