There are more options open to employers than remote working for parents, as schools and creches are set to close across Ireland.

Almost 4,000 schools in Ireland will be closed until March 29 to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

Almost one million primary and secondary school children will stay at home, meaning employees without child care arrangements will raise concerns with employers.

HR Team lead consultant, Martina McAuley says it is time for “managers to think outside the box, outside normal structures and normal working hours.”

She advises that options include:

  • Communicate with employees 

The first thing to do is speak to the employees and see how they are affected. Ask staff to go home, talk to their partners and family, come back and the employer and staff can look at how best to address the concerns.

  • Remote or home working 

It is time for organisations to consider different ways of working – for example home working if the job permits it. Employers are encouraged to work at home to reduce the spread of Coronavirus. 

  • Take annual leave 

Annual leave is an option if the employees are willing. Employees can take annual leave at short notice with the employer’s permission – this could accommodate paid time off. Staff leave can be refused but it is a very unusual situation, and morale of employees may be affected.

  • Unpaid time off 

Staff can take unpaid leave that is time off work for which they have no statutory right to be paid. 

  • Take an innovative approach

This is especially relevant when home or remote working is not appropriate. Can people work at weekends, or can shifts be staggered to accommodate childcare? It might be that an employee and their partner can alternate working hours to make sure the kids are looked after.

Contact us if you would like further advice or have any concerns.

From the UK: +44 2871 271882 and Ireland: +353 1 695 0749.