Advice for Working Parents with School Closures

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As the Government has said that colleges, schools, and nurseries are to close from Friday 20th March, to everyone but key workers, but what does this mean for you? How do you know if you’re a key worker or not?

Am I a Key Worker?

There is a lot of information around at the moment and understanding if you’re a key worker or not may be confusing. The Government says that if you work in any of these places then you are classed as a key worker:

1. For the NHS- Cleaners, admin assistants, Support staff as well as the doctors and nurses.

2. School/Nurseries- Teachers, Classroom assistants, Social workers.

3. Food- if you work in a supermarket or anywhere that makes, sells or delivers food.

4. Public services- Police, Fire, Army, Postal workers, journalists and religious staff (priests, reverends)

5. Anyone who works for the Government- People who can deliver essential services, such as benefits.

6. Gas/Electricity/Water services- Anyone who helps keep these services going

7. Financial workers- Banks and Building Societies.

8. Transport- Bus drivers, Train drivers, Air Travel.

If you are not sure you should check with your employer to see if you are a key worker.

 

Can I work from home?

You should check with your employer to see if you can work from home at this time, however, it may not be possible if you work as a shop worker or a cleaner.

 

What if I can’t work from home?

If you have to stay at home because you have no childcare due to closures, your employer may be able to change or reduce your hours to help. If not, you may have to take unpaid leave or use any holiday allowance you have to look after your children.

 

What will happen to my pay if I can’t work due to childcare problems

If you can rearrange or reduce your hours to cover any childcare problems, then your wage should stay the same or reduce to how many hours you change too. If you can’t work at all due to childcare problems, (maybe you are a single parent) you need to talk to your employer straight away. As these are unusual circumstances, your employer may agree to pay you normally.

 

Will I still have to pay nursery fees if it is closed?

You are best checking the agreement you have with your nursery. If you are not working and have to stay at home to look after your children, you shouldn’t be expected to pay the fees, but your nursery may still ask you to pay. If you are struggling with nursery payments, you should speak to them straight away.

 

Can I get any financial support?

If you have to take a drop in hours to look after your children, then you may be able to claim Universal Credit or Employment and Support allowance to help boost your income.

This is easier said than done when your income falls, but at the moment the problem may just be temporary, and creditors will probably be sympathetic.

Work out what your priority debts are, as these are the things that need to be paid. So your rent, council tax, gas, and electricity are all priority and if you don’t pay these you could end up in more difficulty later.

 

Here at Moneyline, if you are struggling to make your repayments because of the Coronavirus, then call us on 0345 643 1553 and we can offer you a payment break until you are back on your feet.

 

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