To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential economic benefit of parents being allowed to undertake reduced hours on full pay rather than being furloughed whilst balancing work and care commitments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
5 May 2020
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is designed to help those who otherwise would have been made unemployed and to provide support to businesses as quickly as possible. Allowing employers to move staff to part-time and claim the difference would have substantially increased the risk of fraud. However, there is flexibility in the scheme as employers can decide how many staff to furlough, and staff can be furloughed multiple times while the scheme is in operation, provided they are furloughed for a minimum of three weeks.
The Government recognises that it is challenging for parents to balance paid work and childcare while schools and nurseries are closed. Schools remain open for children of key workers and the most vulnerable children, and the Government has put in place a national voucher scheme to provide free school meals for children while at home. Families who see a fall in earnings may become eligible for support through the welfare system, including through Universal Credit (UC).