What you need to do
Employers need to be aware of the risks that could affect the health of their employees and ensure that they are supportive and accommodating to their specific needs, specifically for carers and parents. Consider operating a more flexible approach to working hours to support all employees as they try and work out a new work-life balance.
Why this is important for you
Employees’ situations are likely to change with the government’s advice to encourage people to work from home and the shutdown of schools. These factors will impact the productivity and availability of employees. It is paramount that employers ensure that employees and workers are supported during these circumstances. This will ensure that employees remain productive and contribute to the operations of the organisation.
How you can support your employees
Employers need to be careful when it comes to employees who care for someone with a health condition, as it might put the employee at a greater risk. Employees may need to take time off to care for dependents due to an emergency that is associated to coronavirus.
Parents will also need more flexibility now that schools have been closed. They might need to take time off if they are unable to arrange suitable childcare without putting the children or others at risk (such as grandparents). Talking to each other early on about what the best steps is crucial. It would help to agree on flexible working, changing work hours or working days to accommodate childcare, and continuing regular conversation as things develop. If any agreement is made, it’s a good idea for it to be in writing.
You can find further information on caring for others at the links below:
- Guidance on working flexibly and taking time off to look after children
- Parents are entitled to emergency dependence leave. This covers school closures and other unexpected disruptions to the arrangements to care for the child. (CIPD)
- The government has guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the outbreak
- There are many free educational resources that are available online for supporting and entertaining children that are off school.