Parents: before requesting furlough, consider childcare

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furlough, childcare

Parents have spent this weekend to review how they are going to cope with the coming weeks of lockdown. Many are considering requesting to be furloughed.

What are my furlough rights?

The Government has said that parents have the right to request furlough for childcare reasons, however it is at an employers discretion whether they grant the request. You are not automatically entitled to it.

For any parent trying to homeschool, work, look after their kids and deal with the impact of lockdown it all feels too much. Parents (and this disproportionately affects mothers) are spending their time making the painful choice whether to neglect their kids or neglect their career.

Furlough is definitely one option and Pregnant Then Screwed have created a brilliant request template here. For many parents (and a particular shout out to single parents) it will feel like the only option which doesn’t involve quitting entirely, but there is one other thing you can try.

In lots of ways the furlough scheme has been effective, but no one can pretend that the long-term impact of it is good – especially for women. Not only will you likely have to take a 20% pay cut but what last year demonstrated is that being furloughed increases your chances of redundancy.

This is a gendered issue, last year in a survey of 20,000 mothers and pregnant women 51% of said they had inadequate childcare to be able to do their job and of those made redundant almost half said that lack of childcare provision was the reason*.

The shadow minister for Early Years, Tulip Sadiq says “Mothers are one and a half times as likely as fathers to have lost their job, or quit or been furloughed in this crisis”.

A possible alternative to furlough

At Bubble we’ve been encouraging businesses to support working parents for a while, but in the last few days we’ve seen a surge of companies get in touch with us to see how they can help provide childcare support for their employees.

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In-home childcare remains permitted and it is a business’s interests to invest in this now, as a matter of urgency. We know it’s not easy to ask for things from your employer, but childcare means working parents can focus on their work and will increase the productivity of the workforce – this is an investment that is positive for everyone.

If you’d like us to get in touch with your employer on your behalf then email sarah@joinbubble.com. If you’re an employer please see here for more information.

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