School closures – our advice for your business

The announcement of wholescale school closures will present a further challenge to business. How do you support your team who have increased caring responsibilities (be that for school age children or those with vulnerable dependents) and have to now try to balance these responsibilities with working and additionally potentially home schooling?

Here’s our practical advice.

On a temporary basis, can you offer these individuals in your team the ability to do any of the following:

  • flex their usual working pattern – working the same amount of hours, but starting earlier, working for a bit in the evenings, or different days to normal. Their output is likely to remain the same
  • reduce their hours and thus their pay – whilst not everyone has the ability to take up this option, on a temporary basis this may just be what parents, or others with vulnerable dependents have to do to cope. Clearly any reductions will also ease your payroll bill if this is needed
  • take paid holiday or
  • take unpaid sabbaticals – if you can cope without your team member for a period of time, this could ease the pressure entirely for them and as an employer, if pay is not maintained during a sabbatical, an employee’s contract of employment is normally regarded as suspended so usually no contractual benefits are due either

For our own team, we’ve found that offering a few of these options has been received well. Employer or employee – we’re all in this together and the more support we can provide for each other and each other’s wellbeing, the better. Hopefully we’ll all come out of this more emotionally connected and stronger as teams.

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