School Strikes & Employee Leave Options
During February and March teachers across England, Scotland and Wales will be taking industrial action and these strikes are likely to have a large impact on employees who have dependents under the age of 18.
Within UK Employment Law your employees have certain statutory rights to help them support their dependents, which may need to be considered during this time.
The strikes are due to take place on the below dates:
– 1 February: All schools in England and Wales
– 14 February: All schools in Wales
– 28 February: North and north-west England, Yorkshire and Humber
– 1 March: East Midlands, West Midlands, and the NEU’s eastern region
– 2 March: South-east and south-west England, and London
– 15 and 16 March: All schools in England and Wales
Parental Leave is available to employees if they have children under the age of 18 and have one or more years’ service with your organisation. Under statutory regulations parents must give 21 days’ notice of parental leave, which could cause an issue when strikes can be arranged with 14 days’ notice. As an employer you may choose to be flexible and shorten this notice period.
If the employee has a child who is disabled, they can take one day’s leave (if requested), however, for employees with non-disabled children, parental leave must be taken in a full week period. If the employee chooses to take one day’s leave, this will deduct one weeks leave from their statutory entitlement.
Time off for Dependents
Time off for dependents may be another option for carers and parents during this time. Employees have a statutory right to unpaid time off for emergencies affecting a dependent. Some organisations may choose to offer paid leave for dependents, as a benefit.
Other Leave options
If these options are not suitable for your employees, you could consider looking at other practical options such as:
– Adjusting their working hours to suit both the organisation and the employee
– Swapping working days to accommodate the strike closures
– Authorising unpaid leave
– Working from home (if this is feasible)
– Annual leave
Parental Leave and Time off for dependents are only applicable to employees, therefore workers choices will be limited to the other leave options above.
It can be beneficial to have open and honest conversations with your employees prior to school strikes taking place. Having prior knowledge of the possible impact the strikes for your staff will help you better prepare for possible disruption to your organisation.
If you would like to talk to one of our HR Consultants about your absence policies or to help support you with employee wellbeing strategies, please do get in touch.
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