Distressing survey shows 71% of UK working mothers are being refused furlough

  • UK firms are being urged to offer furlough to employees with childcare responsibilities following distressing survey results from trade union body TUC.

    The pandemic has put pressure on employees across the UK, and the recent closure of schools has added to and already difficult situation for many. Parents who are working remotely have suddenly found themselves having to dedicate time to home-school their children while working, and those able to return to the office may now have childcare costs they weren't expecting.

    While some firms such as local tech-for-good company Elemental have offered staff paid time off or reduced hours in order to care for children during the school closures, new survey results from trade union body TUC show that most companies are not being so kind. Over 50,000 working mothers responded to the survey on the challenges of managing work and childcare during lockdown.

    RELATED: Derry tech firm Elemental gives parents paid time off for home-schooling

    Around 90% of those surveyed felt that their anxiety and stress levels had increased during the latest lockdown, which includes the closure of schools. The most damning statistic from the survey is that 71% of working mothers who asked their employers for furlough were denied it, and 78% were not even offered it by their companies.

    The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (more commonly referred to as the furlough scheme) allows any company in the UK to put its employees on temporary absence and the government will pay up to 80% of their wages. Companies can even have a full-time employee back part time and the scheme will pay proportionally for the unworked hours.

    RELATED: UK furlough scheme extended until March 2021

    Companies are being urged to offer employees with children furlough in order to look after their children throughout the current lockdown. The UK government is also being called on to make furlough a legal right for employees who need it due to circumstances such as childcare or caring for sick relatives.

    Source: TUC poll, via The Guardian

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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