“Do I have to accept my employee’s request for furlough because of their childcare issues?”

The short answer is… no.

During the most recent lockdown announcement, Boris Johnson imposed last minute changes on school openings. Several articles then circulated online which encouraged employees to request furlough if they are having childcare issues. Most of these articles failed to confirm whether an employer has an obligation to accept these requests and subsequently, this has been our most asked question this week.

The HMRC has recently updated its guidance to state that employers can furlough employees who have caring responsibilities resulting from COVID-19, such as caring for children who are at home as a result of school and childcare facilities closing or caring for a vulnerable individual in their household. The HMRC does not, however, state that employers must furlough these employees. Therefore, whilst parents who stay at home to look after their children are eligible for furlough, there is no obligation on the employer to put them on furlough.

We would advise that each request is assessed on a case by case basis and that requests are not unfairly accepted or denied. If you would like to discuss any requests for furlough that you have received, please get in touch by emailing support@guardianlaw.co.uk or call us on 0115 870 0150.

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