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Child care when WFH ends

(28 Posts)
DrMaryMalone Wed 29-Apr-20 08:40:06

I work in agriculture so I am classed as a category 3 key worker by our local council. I am currently working from home but as harvest season approaches in the next few weeks I will need to be out on farms and in my office on a regular basis. My OH has a job which can not be done from home (on a golf course) and as the most senior member of his team has not been furloughed so he can maintain the premises and keep it ticking over ready for when it reopens. He is working his normal hours of 6-2 Monday to Friday since social distancing is pretty easy for him to do there!

However we have 2 DC aged 2 and 7. According to our local council childcare is only available for children where both children’s are key workers. What on earth are we supposed to do? Has anyone been in the same situation?

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DrMaryMalone Wed 29-Apr-20 08:44:06

Forgot to add that DD would normally be at her grandparents for a bit after school until picked up by OH and DS goes to a private nursery full time. Nursery is still open but are strictly following the council rules for places.

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Soontobe60 Wed 29-Apr-20 08:47:34

Your local council is wrong. Our school has children where only 1 parent is a key worker as long as the other one isn't WFH. You need to speak to the nursery directly.

Lindy2 Wed 29-Apr-20 08:48:10

I'm a childminder and childcare can be provided if 1 parent is a key worker. It doesn't have to be 2.

The advice was if 1 was a key worker and the other parent could work from home then the children should remain at home rather than go to childcare/school.

There are some childminders still working and taking on new key worker children. I am however remaining closed as I am concerned about having other children in my home and I am also hone home schooling my own 2 children who need my support.

If you can find childcare though you are eligible for a place as you are a key worker

kirinm Wed 29-Apr-20 08:52:23

I'm afraid I really don't know. I am in tears this morning as we are in a situation that I just cannot resolve and I don't know how we are going to cope.

DP is in construction and sites are reopening next week. We have a 19mo daughter and no childcare. My job can be done from home but I work in law and work are not accepting a reduction in productivity- realistically because if they do, people will have to start losing their jobs. And so far DP has been looking after DD. He's now been told that if he doesn't come back or he tries to reduce his days, there won't be a job to come back to.

If I lose my job it will be incredibly hard to find another one. It's hard enough in good times let alone when firms are furloughing 100s of people. Asking to be furloughed will effectively be me asking for redundancy. I know nobody is saying that now but that is the reality.

I have no idea how we can survive this. I desperate Hope childcare starts to reopen soon. This is starting to take a real toll on our mental health and we are arguing so much we may end up splitting once we can actually leave the flat.

Sorry, I know this doesn't help but I can sympathise with the lack of childcare.

DrMaryMalone Wed 29-Apr-20 08:56:07

It was the nursery who sent me the guidance when I contacted them to ask about a day or two a week for DS to let me get out in the field. This is the text copied from my council website:

Please be aware, this service is for children where both parents are key workers, or where there is a lone parent who is a keyworker. If parents have any other options for childcare when they are working, they should use these. These centres should be a last resort for parents who have no other choice. You may feel it will be better to keep your children at home.

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BlueLadybird Wed 29-Apr-20 08:57:42

@kirinm could your work be done in the evening once your partner is home to look after your child?

Buzztothemoon Wed 29-Apr-20 08:59:44

At the risk of being flamed - it’s worth knowing government restrictions on childcare don’t apply to au pairs and nannies. Many are choosing not to work, but many are especially if they can walk to work and avoid public transport.

Mistybee Wed 29-Apr-20 08:59:47

Nannies are still working

If you have space, advertise for a live in nanny

DrMaryMalone Wed 29-Apr-20 09:00:22

So sorry @kirinm that sounds tough. I’m lucky in that both myself and OH have understanding and reasonable employers but when we both have jobs that can’t always WFH it’s not easy. And unfortunately both jobs are weather sensitive so we both tend to be busiest in the summer months!

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Lindy2 Wed 29-Apr-20 09:08:34

From the National Education Union. There was some confusion at the start of the school closures about if both parents needed to be key workers but it was very quickly clarified.

A nursery can of course set its own rules though, to a certain extent, if it wants less children in. I've made my own decision to close, as that's best for me, although I could be open for key workers if I wanted to be.

"Do both parents need to be critical or key workers for their child to be offered a school place?

No. Children with at least one parent or carer who are identified as critical workers by the government have been told that they can send their children to school if required."

Hugglespuffed Wed 29-Apr-20 09:16:47

I'm going to sound like a broken record so apologies if anyone has seen me say this already.
But I'm a nanny and we are allowed to still work.
I know it is more expensive but it could be worth it in the short term until things go back to normal.
I know nannies who have lost their jobs due to the situation so there will be people looking for work.
Get on childcare.co.uk.
I am simply sharing the info in case it helps others, because I keep seeing that all childcare is closed for non key workers but nannies are often forgotten in this.

JustOneSquareofDarkChocolate Wed 29-Apr-20 09:20:17

Our part time nanny is still working. And I am a key worker (DH is not) and DC go to school when nanny not here. Their school require only one parent to be a key worker

DrMaryMalone Wed 29-Apr-20 09:23:03

We don’t have room for a live in nanny unfortunately. I will have a look but gut feeling is that cost would be an issue for us. We can afford what we would normally pay for nursery plus what we would pay for holiday club for our eldest during the summer but both of those are reduced by tax free child care.

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GoldenOmber Wed 29-Apr-20 09:23:37

I think the rules around schools/childcare for children of key workers may be different in different parts of the UK. I'm in Scotland and where I am they're saying the same as OP - both/lone parents need to be key workers who can't WFH.

elizabethrose Wed 29-Apr-20 09:27:22

I'm with the OP, our local council quote that both parents must be key workers in order to qualify for childcare.

DrMaryMalone Wed 29-Apr-20 09:29:57

@GoldenOmber yes I’m Scotland too. I’ve just rechecked and it’s definitely both parents key workers with our council. Or lone parent key worker. Must be different in other areas going on the replies here.

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MeadowHay Wed 29-Apr-20 09:30:45

@kirinm ahh I feel for you. I'm in a similar situation but my DH is a keyworker so DD goes to nursery half the time and is looked after by her DGM the other half of the time. Otherwise yes I would just lose my job. I don't have flexibility and likewise my employer has confirmed that we must meet all our usual targets etc or we face DP, and if we take unpaid leave we also fave DP if it doesn't meet the needs of the business. Can you look at a nanny or au pair as people have suggested? Or possibly a relative. Or a mix.

littleducks Wed 29-Apr-20 09:36:59

As it was set up so rushed I think different places interpreted differently based on demand. Lots of places are allowing child with only one parent which was what original guidance was.

I think in others lots of parents are suddenly becoming 'lone parents' wink maybe it's the stress of lockdown and not childcare related though

DrMaryMalone Wed 29-Apr-20 11:49:09

I emailed my MSP about it this morning, pointing out the disparity between our council and others which only require 1 key worker parent and I have had a reply already to say he is going to take it up with the head of education.

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ArchbishopOfBanterbury Wed 29-Apr-20 12:00:29

Can your partner take the DC to the golf course when you are working? Not ideal I know.

DrMaryMalone Wed 29-Apr-20 12:10:06

Not really. The 7 year old would probably be ok but both of them together around dangerous machinery would be a health and safety nightmare as our toddler is into everything. There’s no room for car seats on a fairway mower!

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TriangleBingoBongo Wed 29-Apr-20 12:12:57

@kirinm

That is exactly what I’ve been doing for the last however many weeks. DH is out to work each day I’m WFH with a 13 month old.

It’s not possible. I hope you get a better resolution.

puffinandkoala Wed 29-Apr-20 12:28:58

My job can be done from home but I work in law and work are not accepting a reduction in productivity- realistically because if they do, people will have to start losing their jobs

Can you ask to reduce your hours and work them around your child rather than furlough?

Or find a nicer employer - I work part-time for a law firm and they are very understanding of childcare issues. Yours sounds horrible.

puffinandkoala Wed 29-Apr-20 12:29:46

(and before anyone shouts at me, there are lots of jobs around in law but it depends what sort of law)

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