Publish date: 8 January 2021

As you will be aware, the Government announced on Monday that all primary and secondary schools would be closing until February half-term as part of the national lockdown.

We appreciate this will present a challenge for many of you trying to balance work with childcare responsibilities, and as with the first national lockdown in March, our staff are entitled to request a school place for their children so they can continue attending work as critical workers. If you need to confirm that you are a critical worker, you can download and print this letter to show to your child’s school.

If your request for a place at school for your child is declined, you have no alternative childcare arrangements and you are unable to work from home, do not worry - we will continue to support you. If you think this is going to be an issue for you, please speak with your line manager as soon as possible.

We are committed to supporting those who have caring responsibilities and are unable to work from home during the pandemic, and managers should be as flexible and compassionate in their approach as possible. For the duration of the pandemic we have suspended the notion of a limited two-week carer’s leave allocation.

Before approaching your line manager, please make sure you have considered the following options:

  • Taking up the offer of the school place reserved for critical workers
  • Alternative or shared caring arrangements with others in a similar situation
  • Support from other members of your family
  • Carrying out your role from home if possible
  • Temporarily reallocating work from other staff or teams, which you could undertake at home
  • Agreeing a temporary change to your working arrangements, such as a change of hours or a different combination of shifts, which can be arranged around your caring responsibilities

If none of these options is feasible, you will be entitled to take as much paid carer’s leave as you need to enable you to continue caring for your children while schools are closed.

We understand the impact these difficult circumstances can have and would therefore ask managers to work together with their staff to find a solution which supports staff wellbeing and work-life balance. If you do your best by us, we will do our best by you.