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Employment rights, no childcare

(33 Posts)
Hulahoop32 Mon 29-Jun-20 13:26:09

I work as an office administrator and was told to work from home in mid-March. In April I was put on furlough as was my oh. My oh returned to work 2 weeks ago (only the managers are in, all other staff are still on furlough at his place and he’s needed there).

My boss called me last week and said they want to look at me returning in mid July for 1 or 2 days per week but said he understands it may be difficult due to childcare (I have 3 children aged 4, 9 and 12). And said they will do what they can to be understanding etc.

My oh said he would ask work about 1 day a week where he could stay at home which is fine. However I emailed my boss this morning and said I hoped to have an answer this week he emailed back stating they need me back in the next 1-2 weeks for minimum 2 days. He wrote a long piece about the measures put in place at the office and I replied pointing out that or the phone he said one or two days and that I’m not worried about returning to the office but obviously I can’t without childcare. My elderly grandmother used to care for my youngest during the holidays but the past year she’s developed bad eyesight and isn’t medically well enough to care for 3 children. Ohs mum is working from gone so isn’t an option either

What can I do? And what are my rights?

OP’s posts: |
Tempjob Mon 29-Jun-20 13:30:29

We are paying for a nanny to come into the house. Is that something you could potentially afford? Otherwise would you consider unpaid leave or unpaid parental leave?

ShadowMane Mon 29-Jun-20 13:32:14

You will need to look for alternative childcare.

in the meantime you will either need to take unpaid leave, or holiday? or OH takes holiday 1 day a week that will cover for you for the next 2 weeks

Hulahoop32 Mon 29-Jun-20 13:36:54

I would consider using holidays if allowed but not sure what I could do after that. Not sure we could afford for me to go on unpaid leave. Same with the childcare really it’s out of our budget especially after being on furlough 80% wages. I just thought the Govt. said you should work from home if possible, which I can as I was to start with but feels I’m having my hand forced now. Can I be sacked for having no childcare?

OP’s posts: |
EasyPeasyHappyCheesy Mon 29-Jun-20 13:43:08

You need to share this with your husband. Can't you do 2 days and your husband does 3 days? And you do the childcare for the other days you are not working? Or look for paid childcare eg a nursery

Uhoh2020 Mon 29-Jun-20 13:43:12

You can apply for unpaid parental leave, look for a child minder, hire a Nanny or babysitter, ask another relative or friend to help out for the 1 day you both need to be in the office maybe offer to have your friends dc a different day to help them out.
Employers have to be flexible as in maybe let you work the 1-2 days that suit you rather than them but what child care you have in place is not their concern. Its a crap situation.

OllyBJolly Mon 29-Jun-20 13:48:39

Can I be sacked for having no childcare?

No, you can't. You can be dismissed for being unable to fulfil your employment contract i.e. turn up at work. Effectively your choices are that you find child care or you resign (if unpaid leave isn't possible).

This would have been the school holidays- what would your plans have been?

It is a crap situation.

Uhoh2020 Mon 29-Jun-20 13:48:41

@Hulahoop32 using holiday leave probably isnt going to be an option presumably they're asking you to return because they need your work doing not to have you still at home (albeit using AL) and the work still not being done

Temple29 Mon 29-Jun-20 13:51:07

It’s a crap situation OP. Is your DH limited to working from home only 1 day or could he do 2 days from home?

From an employment rights point of view I don’t think there’s much you can do but try find a middle ground. Or look for alternative childcare, if it’s only for the 1 day you both have to work it might not cost too much?

TheABC Mon 29-Jun-20 13:53:30

Ring around to see if you can get a childminder. Some holiday clubs are operating too; I just booked mine in for three weeks. If you and DH can split the burden between you, it might only mean one or two days paid care. Other options (depending on your kids age) could be an au pair, uni student or a childcare swap with another parent.

Ultimately, you can't rely on your DGM moving forward, so even without the virus you need to set up alternatives. It is a shitty situation though and you have my sympathy.

user1487194234 Mon 29-Jun-20 13:53:33

You can try and negotiate WFH but can't insist
BJ said he hoped employers would be sympathetic but he did not make it law that they had to be
You will have to arrange childcare,even if it takes most of your pay to keep your job
Otherwise holiday/or unpaid leave or resign

Viviennemary Mon 29-Jun-20 13:55:11

It's tough. But you need to sort out childcare or ask for unpaid leave of absence. It's only one day to sort out.

FelicityPike Mon 29-Jun-20 13:57:04

“ Can I be sacked for having no childcare?”

Well, if you can’t go to work because you don’t have anyone to care for your children, then yes, they could sack you.

NotEverythingIsBlackandWhite Mon 29-Jun-20 13:58:45

"My elderly grandmother used to care for my youngest during the holidays but the past year she’s developed bad eyesight and isn’t medically well enough to care for 3 children.".
Before the pandemic, what were your plans for the children for the summer holidays?

missbipolar Mon 29-Jun-20 14:03:45

So what would your plans have been for childcare anyway now your grandma can't

Hulahoop32 Mon 29-Jun-20 14:10:56

Lots of people asking what I would’ve done as it’s the holidays, I would’ve paid for them to attend a holiday club but it isn’t in our budget at the moment, only childminders are operating in my area and have limited spaces as well. I could’ve done 1 day but not 2 and that’s even if oh gets the day. He’s needed in his office as he’s a manager whereas I could work from home do I do find it unfair that the goal posts have been moved but of course I don’t expect everyone to agree.

OP’s posts: |
SquishySquirmy Mon 29-Jun-20 14:13:12

Could your dh rearrange his hours on those days? Ti start and finish early? Would your work allow you to come in late and stay late? (Or vice versa). So one of you could be around am, one PM.
How responsible is your 12 year old? Could they be trusted to watch the younger ones for a couple of hours (not all day)?

AllsortsofAwkward Mon 29-Jun-20 14:14:22

Then you go on parental leave or give your job up.

AllsortsofAwkward Mon 29-Jun-20 14:16:01

SquishySquirmy
Did you seriously suggest op let her 12 year old care for a 4 and 9 year old?! I have a 12 year old no way would I leave him in charge of his 4 year old brother.

Tempjob Mon 29-Jun-20 14:18:11

I feel for you, it's really hard. I will lose my job in August and will not seek another for the time being, due to the ongoing childcare issues.

beautifulxdisasters Mon 29-Jun-20 14:20:41

Your problem doesn't seem to be that you can't access your childcare because of Covid though? It's that your DGM is now sadly too elderly to care for your children. You've actually been lucky to have this long to sort it out since you've been off. You can't expect to work with no childcare long term.

What were you planning to do when DGM became too infirm, or were you hoping your DCs would be old enough that they wouldn't need care by then?

So this is an ongoing problem of holiday childcare that you will need to sort out by finding and paying a childcare provider, taking annual/unpaid leave etc I'm afraid. Otherwise this will presumably be the case next summer too, and every summer for a good few years, as it is for the rest of us! Or were you planning to use a childcare provider that is still closed due to Covid?

ShadowMane Mon 29-Jun-20 14:21:11

Hulahoop32

Lots of people asking what I would’ve done as it’s the holidays, I would’ve paid for them to attend a holiday club but it isn’t in our budget at the moment, only childminders are operating in my area and have limited spaces as well. I could’ve done 1 day but not 2 and that’s even if oh gets the day. He’s needed in his office as he’s a manager whereas I could work from home do I do find it unfair that the goal posts have been moved but of course I don’t expect everyone to agree.

I'm not sure why you would have been ok without furloughing unless you are in debt due to it?

Its hard, but sadly you need to find some childcare

beautifulxdisasters Mon 29-Jun-20 14:22:22

Sorry cross posted with you re holiday clubs OP! That's a tough situation.

Do any of your DCs have friends whose parents may be in a similar position - maybe you could organise a childcare swap?

NotEverythingIsBlackandWhite Mon 29-Jun-20 14:27:28

The holidays start in 2 weeks and I think it is fair for your employer, if they cannot offer you unpaid leave and need you in work now, to expect you to work. You need to find and pay for childcare.

So, are you saying you would have had your children in a holiday club but you can't afford that for yet because the holiday period starts in just over two weeks yet he wants you back at work in the next 1-2 weeks? You can't afford it because you've been on 80% salary whilst furloughed so haven't been able to save for the childcare?

EL8888 Mon 29-Jun-20 14:40:24

I’m assuming you work 5 days so your employer is compromising by only saying you go in 1-2 days a week. As others have said then you will have to use annual leave, parental leave and unpaid leave

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