Martin Lewis offers good news on furlough for parents affected by school closures

Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the decision to close schools across the UK on March 18, to stop the spread of coronavirus. Where possible, the government also advised people to work from home, stating schools would remain open for the children of key workers. However, uncertainty on school place entitlement ensued, and many parents were left in limbo.


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Money saving expert Martin Lewis has now laid out the entitlements of parents to furlough from their jobs to look after children at home.

Using his Twitter account, Martin posted a series of useful tips for those working to understand their furlough entitlements.

He said: “Employees who can’t work due to school closures can be furloughed.

“The Treasury has confirmed those unable to work as schools are closed and they need to be home to look after children, may be furloughed.”

It is, however, down to the individual employer to decide whether they will furlough their employees. 

More information was provided on the MoneySavingExpert website. 

Employees are entitled by law to take time off to support their children in an unexpected event, such as a school closure.

This is known as dependent leave, which allows parents and guardians to care for their children. 

However, traditionally working adults do not have the legal right to be paid for this time away from work.

Whilst there is no cap on the amount of time an employee is allowed to take off work, it is described as a “reasonable amount”.

The government have not yet confirmed what amount of time will be considered “reasonable”.

But the Treasury has said it is keeping the situation under “active review” and can change the guidelines if required.

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Schools, however, could be shut for a number of weeks or months, so the situation remains up in the air. 

Parents are encouraged to keep in regular contact with their employer to see if they remain eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. 

Advice on the MoneySavingExpert website has advised parents to study their options if their employer does not offer furlough.

Employees may also be able to take annual leave if needing to spend a longer period of time away from work.

And parental leave is another option for those who have been with their company for more than a year. 

A furlough is when bosses need their staff to take an unpaid leave of absence due to a lack of work, or a shut down of operations. 

The employee remains on the payroll, however is not paid by the company during the furlough period. 

Rishi Sunak and the Treasury, however, have pledged to pay 80 percent of furloughed employees wages up to £2,500 a month. 

Those placed on furlough must remain so for at least three consecutive weeks, and then taken off furlough when they return. 

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