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Parents wfh and the furloughed for childcare

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baskininjoe Sun 17-May-20 16:28:53

I am childless, currently by choice because I am in my twenties but do plan to have a child in the future at some point.

AIBU to be getting annoyed with the short end of the stick that the childless are getting right now with everything regarding childcare and lockdown.

I have so many colleges who are currently wfh whilst looking after children. I completely sympathise and understand this is hard but I am really starting to get annoyed with them being less productive, and logging less hours for the same pay (no reduction), whilst the rest of us are expected to pick up the slack, and work more hours to make sure tasks still get completed, whilst not being paid anymore for our extra time and effort. I know there is no perfect solution but it really grates on me that they aren't being paid for what they complete which could therefore compensate the rest of us for the extra we are having to do because they are not fully fulfilling their role.

On top of this with the idea of school provisionally going back in June some of these parents have said they will not be sending their DC to school, despite a place being open and available to them, and therefore expect the rest of us to continue to pick up their slack because they can't work as productively whilst looking after their children.

My housemate (shared house) works in a place where many parents have been furloughed for childcare reasons, despite their being lots of work to do, just because they've asked to be. This means that my housemate has been incredibly stressed as the workload is still high but the team is now smaller, whilst many of their colleges are receiving 80% on the taxpayer, despite their actually being work for them to do, all because they complained to their employer that it was too hard working with children and thus asking to be furloughed. This is especially grating as it is taxpayer money that is being used to pay them, despite their actually being a job they could do and be payed for.

I am not at all against the furlough scheme, another of my housemates work in a restaurant and is also on furlough and this is absolutely the right thing as they can not work, despite wanting to, as their place of work is not allowed to open.

However I think:

1. Some employers and employees are taking the piss by allowing staff to be furloughed/asking to be furloughed despite their actually being a job to do. Which then negatively affects the rest of the teams as the work level remains the same but there are less people to do the work so the remaining people have to work harder with no extra pay.

2. Employers need to be understanding but also firm with parents that although some productively will be affected by having DC at home, a certain level still needs to be consistently met or they are not doing their job properly and that negatively affects the business and the rest of the team.

3. Employers need to be especially understanding and grateful to employees still working, who are picking up the slack for those not being as productive because of DC at home/furloughed for childcare reasons despite their still being work. And actually need to consider financially compensating them for the high level of extra work and overtime and/or promise to look at these people first for upcoming promotions as as they have shown serious dedication to the business.

4. Employers should not be allowing parents to choose not to send DC to school when they can if it continues to affect the parents productivity level.

I understand this is a hard time for everyone, and parents do have it hard with few childcare options for DC, however that is not the problem of their colleagues and they should not be negatively affected by being expected to work far far more for no extra gain. My housemate and I are stressed beyond belief both having to work 10-12 hours every day for what would be a 9-5 office job in order to pick up the slack for colleagues whilst not being paid anymore whilst these colleagues are only completely 4-6 hours a day yet continuing to be paid the same as us. And on top of this are expecting it to continue despite their child being able to go to school soon because they are choosing not to send them.

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OneandTwenty Sun 17-May-20 16:38:15

IBU to be getting annoyed with the short end of the stick that the childless are getting right now with everything regarding childcare and lockdown.

take it with your own employer, that's not my experience at all, and it's not the experience of most parents.

The schools are far from re-opened in full yet, with the full wrap-around childcare facilities that parents are relying on.

Well done for moaning about parents on a parenting forum though smile

baskininjoe Sun 17-May-20 16:50:09

@MNHQ have said many times that despite the name this forum is open to any and everyone who finds it useful/interesting as long as they stay within the guidelines.

And I'm not complaining about parents, I'm complaining about the short end of the stick I'm getting comparatively to them.

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OneandTwenty Sun 17-May-20 16:52:47

No one is saying this forum is reserved for parents, just that you chose an odd media to complain about parents.

Again, your issue is with your own employers, most people have a very different experience.

SuitedandBooted Sun 17-May-20 16:54:42

You'll need a hard hat, OP. grin

Actually, I could have written your post. The company I work for has a fair few people who have got very comfy at home. Childcare issues have made it impossible for everyone to work to their full capacity, but certainly not all. Several won't come in as their WFH DP's aren't used to looking after the children all day, so they need to help them confused

It's not just parents, though. My particular favourite is a healthy, child-free thirty-something colleague, who is apparently still too "anxious" to come to work, but still able to enjoy BBQ's and piss ups with her mates. I'm amazed at her short-sighted attitude, plus her inability to notice that the production director is tagged on her Facebook....

LisaSimpsonsbff Sun 17-May-20 16:55:18

I'm a parent of a toddler and I really sympathise with you - I am very aware that other people on my team are picking things up for me at the moment and I feel very guilty about it. I don't know what I can do though - I actually asked my boss about cutting my hours (and so pay) and she said no, and in any case that money wouldn't go to my colleagues (and is that a precedent we want to set? One of my colleagues often gets migraines and I often have to cover for her when she's off - should I get her pay on those days?). But I do agree with you that's it's an unfair situation. I'm sure some of my colleagues resent me (I'm the only person in the team with a young child) and I can understand why.

SqidgeBum Sun 17-May-20 16:57:27

Everyone is stressed. Everyone is working hard. Both you and your colleagues with kids are finding this next to near impossible. Its not ideal or workable for anyone to be honest, however nobody has any othe choice. My advice, no point getting annoyed over something nobody can change. Your colleagues cant just turn their kids off so they can work, nor will they chuck them into school into a potentially dangerous situation health wise so targets can be met. As a parent its akin to neglect to put your kid before your kids to the point that you risk their health for deadlines. You cant make them more productive by moaning to your employer or on here. Everyone is just trying to survive, both childless and those with children. It's no fun for anyone. There is no solution. We all need to get on with it and try to be considerate of everyone's situation considering wfh isnt going to produce the same results as working in an office.

PleasantVille Sun 17-May-20 16:57:40

I do have children but I can see your point OP, if I was in your situation I'd be pretty pissed off, your employer shouldn't be expecting you to pick up the slack like that for the same pay as others working reduced hours, would anyone really not be irked by that?

Suzie6789 Sun 17-May-20 16:58:40

You clearly don’t sympathise with people who are WFH and trying to look after children at the same time, if this is your OP.
Trying to do both is absolutely fucking shit, luckily my kids are not little but still need a certain amount of supervision for school work.
Those with kids will be stressed out too, trying to deliver on all fronts.

OoohTheStatsDontLie Sun 17-May-20 17:01:42

I think you have some good points and are being a bit harsh in others.
Me and my husband are both working from home and looking after children. We are both managing to get the minimum done, I'd say we are down one or two hours a day. Which I appreciate adds up.

Companies should be furloughing people because there is less work for them and otherwise would be considering making them redundant. Furloughing people even though you haven't had a drop in revenue, just because they have asked to be, to look after their children, is not what the furlough scheme is for and is wrong and in my opinion, fraudulent. The company should NOT be doing this and are the ones at fault here.

Yes its shit for you having to pick up extra hours. But equally its shit for working parents, trying to fit in 6 hours of childcare a day, home schooling and 6 hours of work, logging on in the evenings and weekends to catch up. It's a global pandemic, its shit all round.

I think employers will be able to tell which employees are genuinely trying their best to do what work they can, and which are 'I can't do any work, I have a child!' Its quite obvious to others and will be taken into account if companies arent doing as well after it's over and people have to be made redundant.

If you feel like you should be paid more because you're doing more hours, you could either just refuse to do more work and do what you're paid for, or point out how much extra you do and how helpful you were at your next pay review. What other people get paid is not really any of your concern. Your company is saving money by furloughing people, it's up to them what to do with it and is not the decision of the furloughed staff where the savings go

I think lots of companies have some sort of corporate social responsibility, recognise that happier and more engaged employees will be more loyal and more productive. They also recognise that lack of childcare is beyond everyones control, but the situation is temporary, and if employees are doing their best, they will suck up paying people for work they arent doing 100pc of. I have worked for my company for 20 years, and I am currently getting full pay even though I'm working full hours. After the pandemic I'll be glad to go back to working over my hours when needed, staying late or catching up on the weekend when its busy. If my company were only paying me for hours I worked currently, I'd say fine, but then afterwards I'd be more likely just to work the hours I'm paid for. Which would put them in the shit when we have a big project on.

Lastly I think if people are choosing not to send their kids back, then employers should not pay them, as that's a choice. Unless someone in their immediate family is shielding and it's too risky for children to go back to school, in which case I would hope for a bit of flexibility. It would be harsh to give their employees the choice between risking death or unemployment and losing their house etc.

baskininjoe Sun 17-May-20 17:01:41


Thank you for getting where I'm going with this. I'm sure your colleagues don't resent you so much as the situation (and possibly management too) as you sound like you are doing everything in your power and I understand the situation is hard.

The colleagues I resent are the ones expecting this to continue because they don't want to send their children to school despite there being a place for them and in some cases the furloughed for childcare as they could do the same as other colleges and do 4-6 hours a days which would take the load off the rest of us a little so I could hopefully do 8-10 hours a day rather than 10-12.

I get what you're saying about the precedent and do think it's a dangerous one overall but if your boss could short term change you contracted hours to say 6 a day whilst making your colleagues 10 for the duration of the virus then pay could be adjusted temporarily but go back to normal once the rest of the world does. Alternatively those working excessively more hours could accrue more holiday for it (on top of the allowance they already have) to take later. This would not negatively impact parents whilst recognise those working way beyond what they normally should be and giving them the time back eventually.

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Digitalash Sun 17-May-20 17:02:01

I'm WFH full time and a single mum to a 3 year we have been told if we cant juggle child care and WFH we can take unpaid leave which obviously I cant afford to do. It is an absolute nightmare for me atm and I wish my company could be a little more understanding.

FrankieKnuckles Sun 17-May-20 17:02:58

OP yours might be the post that gets me banned from Mumsnet.
I'm too angry to write a cohesive response, but I hope one day when you have 2 children & you find yourself WFH whilst trying to homeschool & look after their well-being FOR SIX FUCKING MONTHS (cos that's what it will be) you will realise how naive & uncompassionate you were (not sure uncompassionate is actually a word).

For the record I'm civil service so can't be furloughed.

nanbread Sun 17-May-20 17:03:50

I understand it's a bit annoying. But what do you expect them to do OP?

What would you do if you had young children who needed/wanted your attention for 12 hours a day, and perhaps need homeschooling as well?

Your working day day is 10-12 hours - a working parent's day is probably more like 16-18 right now.

Parents are picking up slack too - just in different ways.

FrankieKnuckles Sun 17-May-20 17:04:35

And despite being a key worker my kids can't go to school because my LA say both parents have to be key workers. My DH is out the house working every day as normal, something I would give my right arm to do atm

OoohTheStatsDontLie Sun 17-May-20 17:05:02

"Several won't come in as their WFH DP's aren't used to looking after the children all day, so they need to help them"

I think that's awful and I would not be happy with anyone that worked for me doing that, they are choosing to not come to work rather than can't come to work

RibenaMonsoon Sun 17-May-20 17:05:59

You really think you have the short end of the stick?
You didn't need to mention you weren't yet a parent. That much is obvious by the rest of your post.

You have absolutely no idea.
My 3 year old son (who by the way is also a human being, not a thing that sits quietly while I watch him, being able to work remotely)
He's taking this pretty badly. Everything he loves, including his nursery, his friends, his grandparents and cousins, going to parks and soft play has been taken away. He's not at an age where he really understands why. As a result he has taken to constant tantrums, regressing on his potty training, weeing everywhere, nightmares and waking constantly every night. I'm getting 5 hours sleep at night if I'm lucky. Meanwhile my breastfeeding 10 month old DD is being woken by him and I've then both of them to get back to sleep. Both children have different needs that I just cant satisfy as I would usually be able to. All the while stressing making sure I can keep a roof over their heads and the usual cleaning of the house and laundry (which takes a lot longer now that both children are home.)

I would absolutely kill to be where you are, where all I had to worry about is doing some extra work and would happily do so to do my bit.

I appreciate that you aren't in my position and all you can see is your own perspective. But the short end of the definitely haven't got.

Digitalash Sun 17-May-20 17:06:48

Also I've begged my boss for some slack, shorter days or a day off for reduced pay , I have been in tears telling her I cant cope and I just get told the same thing - no, tough shit get on with it. I would love to be in your position instead of failing at both being a parent and my job.

oiboi Sun 17-May-20 17:07:08

There's unfairness all round - I'm sick of having to work much longer hours and see more risky patients because so many of my colleagues are shielding. It's not their fault but it's not mine either.

My husband is sick of trying to look after 2 kids and work from home. His work is so busy and our kids are young and demanding. He's having to work long hours in the evening.

I'm so envious of friends of mine who are furloughed, I'm exhausted and stressed all the time.

Yes it's not fair the childless are having to do more but it's not just the childless, this virus has really caused divide for many of us. It's shit.

baskininjoe Sun 17-May-20 17:08:03


Pull yourself together, re read my OP and see that I am in no way attacking parents. Just expressing my frustration at the situation it has left me in. I am compassionate to your situation and understand it must be very hard, however can you be abit compassionate to mine and understand how shit it must be for me right now as well? And I am allowed to moan about it being shit for me. It's shit for everyone I get that, and everyone is allowed a moan, if you feel the need for one start your own thread about how hard you are finding it and how frustrated you are right now.

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Hugglespuffed Sun 17-May-20 17:08:39

I think the issues are separate.

1. You want more pay for putting in extra work, this is up to your employer.

2. What do you expect parents to do if there isn't any childcare open?

I am not a parent but work in childcare so I have a little insight in to having kids around. I can't imagine trying to hold down a job whilst also looking after children. This is one of the reasons that the furlough scheme has been put in place, because they understand that parents can't manage both. Childcare is a full time job, especially toddler age and younger!

I also wouldn't be sending my kids in on June 1st. Death rate too high.

OneandTwenty Sun 17-May-20 17:09:57

The colleagues I resent are the ones expecting this to continue because they don't want to send their children to school despite there being a place for them

too bad. You know nothing of the conditions of the place offered so you are in no position to judge.

LisaSimpsonsbff Sun 17-May-20 17:10:03

I'm finding WFH with a toddler very hard, but I don't think it does anyone any good to play the 'who has it harder' game.

baskininjoe Sun 17-May-20 17:11:56

Actually @oneandtwenty due to the nature of my job I do.

For certain colleagues there is no one in the house shielding or at high risk, they just don't want to send the DC back until it's "100% safe" and "the virus is gone".

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Cheeseycheeseycheesecheese Sun 17-May-20 17:13:31

As @ribena has said, working with a 3 year old who is missing their routine is impossible.

Add in a 10 month old and 2 jobs that require myself and dh to be on the phone during office hours, so neither of us can flex around eachother and dcs. It's horrible!

I was furloughed within a week of the government closing nurseries. I miss work, I cannot wait for them to say we can mix with one or 2 other households, just so I can go back to work and dcs will be spending time with grandparents who miss them horribly!

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