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To seek to be laid off for the summer - childcare issues

(17 Posts)
Slipjigger Mon 08-Jun-20 08:27:18

I have been working from home since mid March when the schools closed. My DH was temporarily laid off for 7 of those weeks in March/April so he was minding the children while I worked from home.
I am a lawyer but can do my job perfectly well from home as the courts are closed and will be for a while.
Another solicitor was let go end of March and I was given his workload so was very busy for the last two months getting everything under control.

DH went back to work full time 3 weeks ago. I have managed fine as my work load has eased off, our children are 9,10 and 12 and fairly self sufficient.
My boss rang me Friday and said I am to be back in the office 4 days a week starting this week. I have explained we have no childcare and she asked "could I not get some young one to come in and mind the children?"

My normal childcare is that my SIL minds the children for me for 2 hours after school 4 days a week, in school time that's all I need. During the summer my deal is that I work from home more, I also put the children in a camp each week and have a local girl mind the children for a couple of hours after the camp until I get home. My mam is also available to mind the children when needed.

We have tried to see if DH' work can be reduced to allow me to go into the office a couple of days a week. If DH takes even one day parental leave his wages will be reduced by about €350 a week as he will lose the day's pay plus his standard 5 hours overtime.

My SIL works and is only available in the afternoon, the camps are not running to to CV, I could ask the girl who babysits but realistically she would not manage with minding the children 4 full days a week. Even if she did it would cost me about €400 a week (8 x 4x€10 an hour) plus diesel getting to work. I have taken a 10% pay cut so that means I will work a full week and come home with €250. The covid umemployment benefit is €350 a week!

I also am not happy with this girl coming to my house for 30+ hours a week and being in such close contact with the children. Her dad works travelling around to shops to he is in contact with loads of people everyday. TBH I dont even know if the girl is available, as she also sometimes works in her dad's shops during the summer.

My boss is taking a hard line with all staff and saying they have to be back in the office full time, no excuses. I genuinely cannot organise childcare to go back to the office. I am thinking of just asking her can she "lay me off" for the summer. She is receiving €350 a week from the state for me and she gets this regardless of whether I work hours or not once I am on the books. She tops up my wages. She could let me off work, pay me the €350 she gets from the state and I would offer to work a day technically for free just to keep things ticking over. She has 6 solicitors in the office and I know they are not busy and could keep an eye on my caseload along with me to make sure nothing falls behind.
Alternatively she could actually lay me off and I would get the €350 unemployment benefit and she could take me back on in September if needed.
I cant see any other way around this. I am dreading Sept as well as it is likely the children wont be back full time and this issue is going to continue.
I would happily stay working from home for the summer or cut to a 3 day week from home but she is having none of it, back in the office or nothing!
Thanks

OP’s posts: |
recycledbottle Mon 08-Jun-20 08:51:35

Why is your employer taking 350 from the taxpayer if you have been working from home? You haven't been on furlough.

This and insisting everyone goes back sounds like they are not a good place to work.

I wouldn't suggest that you leave and then maybe come back as you will probably never come back. You have left of your own accord so wont be available for redundancy. I would suggest unpaid leave/actual furlough for two months and then see how it goes in September.

Are you in Ireland? The use of the word Mam and the 350 figure suggests you are. If so, the Government have said if you can work from home then you must so maybe tell your employer that if you go in you are breaking government guidelines.

MagisCapulus Mon 08-Jun-20 08:57:47

I have resigned due to childcare issues. (But not entitled to benefits, so we are just belt tightening). I think this will happen more and more as we approach summer .

Slipjigger Mon 08-Jun-20 09:15:52

Yes in Ireland!
We have a state subsidy scheme here so if your employer keeps you on the books ie doesn't let you go or temporarily lay you off, the state pays the company €350 per employee.

My employer has been receiving this for 2 months and they pay the rest of the wages themselves. They will continue receiving this until August.

If they keep me on the books but allow me to take leave until Sept, they will continue to receive the €350 which they can pay to me and I can work one day a week.
Its all perfectly above board, its not scamming the state or anything as they pay regardless of how many hours I work once I am still an employee.
I don't think she will allow this though and will probably let me go.
The guidelines are that people who can continue to work remotely should continue to do so. We disagree over whether or not I can continue to work remotely. She thinks I need to be in the office in case clients call, I say my secretary can take a message and I can call them back from home (which has worked fine for the last 2 months).
She also says I need to be in the office in case the legal execs need to ask questions, they email/call me if they do but she doesn't accept this is sufficient.

I would probably find it fairly easy to get another job in the Autumn, my DH wouldn't as his industry has been badly affected so if any job needs to go it has to be mine.

OP’s posts: |
Slipjigger Mon 08-Jun-20 09:18:02

Magis, that's terrible. If I resign I get nothing as well. If I am let go because she wont let me continue to work from home then I get a Covid unemployment payment of €350 until 10 August, then I would probably get nothing but at least its near the children going back to school and I could job hunt again.

OP’s posts: |
recycledbottle Mon 08-Jun-20 12:25:26

The covid payment is for companies that were forced to shut who keep employees on the books. Its not for people who wfh. If that was the case all google,IT workers etc would receive the payment. It absolutely is a scam if you have been working. You are now caught between a rock and a hardplace as you have accepted that you are furlough so have accepted that you cannot wfh. Your employer has used tax payers money to claim that you are all not working and is now Re opening and still claiming money.

preferteatocoffee Mon 08-Jun-20 13:25:18

Asking to be laid off seems like a bad idea. Could you request unpaid parental leave? That way you still have all your employment rights.

In addition in Ireland the wage subsidy is only for companies who can demonstrate turnover is down 25% or more. If that's the case you have a strong case to say you'll be able to cover existing work commitments (asumming they're down by 25% too).

Also Ireland the guidance is very much WFH if at all possible. Your boss seems very unreasonable. For context our offices not expecting to open until Aug 10th (maybe July 20th given new phase timelines)and even then on a phased/voluntary basis. Anecdotally this is the same for most ppl I know. IT sector if relevant.

Slipjigger Mon 08-Jun-20 14:53:06

www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/unemployment_and_redundancy/covid19_temporary_wage_subsidy_scheme.html

Recycled - no its definitely for companies who remained open but had a 25% reduction in business. It is legitimate and will continue until August.

Prefer Tea - my level of work had reduced by about 60-70%- but as I had the other solicitor's work I was kept very busy. I got on top of it all a couple of weeks ago and am very quite now. I could do the work in 2-3 days easily.
She is going against guidelines but that wont stop her. I have less than 12 months employment so not really protected in terms of unfair dismissal.
I was going to suggest giving my unpaid parental leave but pay me the €350 she is getting from state(she will get it anyway if I am on the books) and I will do a day day and a half work for that to keep things ticking over.

OP’s posts: |
vanillandhoney Mon 08-Jun-20 14:55:31

I would be very reluctant to willingly give up work now. We're about to enter a huge recession and jobs are going to very hard to come by for a while.

Rosebel Mon 08-Jun-20 15:09:51

I don't really think you can give up your job and hope she offers it back in September. She doesn't sound like a very sympathetic employer. I'm not sure what you can do except use annual leave or parental leave.
You might think it's easy to get another job but I don't think that wil be the case. Unemployment is rising. It'll be higher by September, and competition for jobs will.be high.
Think you'll have use leave and hope for the best. Is it possible for your husband to take some annual leave, maybe later in the summer?

Nevertouchakoala Mon 08-Jun-20 15:27:16

Would your kids be ok by themselves? Is the 12 year old sensible enough to mind them? Maybe with a babysitter coming in for part of the day each day?

dontdisturbmenow Mon 08-Jun-20 15:55:47

Why wouldn't this girl cope with yourself sufficient 3 children? I don't think you should pay her £400 a week though, that's the rate for a few hours, not full time.

There are many uni students desperate for a summer job who would be very happy to look after your children and even offer some tutoring for much less than £400 a week.

It sounds like you don't really want to go back to the office.

okiedokieme Mon 08-Jun-20 16:07:13

Why not hire a university student to watch the kids, my dd is doing this 2 days a week for a local family with similar aged kids. They are paying her £10 an hour so she's delighted because apart from supervising homeschool stuff (they have online lessons from school, she just helps the 9 year old a bit if he doesn't understand) she watches Netflix, the kids come with her when she pops back to our house (around the corner) picks up the dog and they all go to the park. There's always a solution

Slipjigger Mon 08-Jun-20 16:18:33

The problem is that she wants me in there 4 full days a week so with travel that is 40 hours a week. A few hours a day isn't sufficient for her. Also €10 an hour to mind 3 children is a good rate - that's €80 a day and €400 for a four day week.

I am wary about getting someone I and the children don't know. Its also an increased risk in terms of covid - lots of youngster are freely associating with their friends with no social distancing. I have an underlying health condition and my two boys are on inhalers.
I have used a weeks AL, I was planning on using 2 weeks in August. I need to keep days for midterm and Xmas.
Dh has used his and he was off work for 7 weeks so he is only accusing his now again, he only has 2.5 left for year and has to keep 3/4 for xmas. We could cover August with AL but still leaves two more months.

OP’s posts: |
Slipjigger Mon 08-Jun-20 16:19:59

Oh and I would LOVE to go back to the office, trying to work from home, home school, minds kids and cook is not my idea of fun.
The boys are wild today I am close to killing them! My quiet office would be heaven right now.

OP’s posts: |
recycledbottle Mon 08-Jun-20 16:30:56

@Slipjigger apologies, my mistake. It does say though that employee should be off work or on reduced hours and you say in the initial post that you were very busy as you took over a co workers files. It seems you were working full time from home rather than laid off(on the books) or reduced hours and pay. I can see from the updates that your are quiet now. I wouldn't offer to leave the job but rather offer to work from home for one or two days at zero cost to employer. Alternatively you will have to find a childminder. Apologies I was wrong re. Payment.

Rosebel Mon 08-Jun-20 16:42:20

Could you leave your children alone in the morning and get either SIL or the girl you normally have to do afternoons? Obviously it depends how mature your eldest is and how they get on. Or ask the girl to do mornings and SIL afternoon? I can see it's a,really difficult situation though.

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