With schools closed, parents are having to take care of their children, or even homeschool them – which can feel virtually impossible if they have to work.
But now Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has explained how changes to furlough can act as a lifeline for parents.
If you are furloughed it means you will get paid to take time off to look after your children.
This lockdown is different to the one in March 2020, meaning there are new flexible options.
Martin Lewis said on his ITV Money Show: “I want to shine some light and warmth on your finances”.
First, he explained: “Furlough is available until the 30th of April. You have to understand though, that furlough is always at the employer’s discretion – they do not have to furlough anyone.
“To get furlough you need to have been on the payroll by the 30th October – it applies to zero-hours contact people, agency workers… you can be furloughed.
“And furlough is now flexible”.
That means you can still work part of the week, and be furloughed the rest to help with childcare or homeschooling.
The flexibility of furlough can be a real lifeline for parents who are struggling to balance childcare responsibilities and work.
Martin said: “It’s important to understand that if you can’t work because of childcare responsibilities, your kids are now at home, then firms can furlough you just because of that.
“Ask them, they don’t have to, but I hope they would be considerate on that.”
Even if they don’t furlough you, it doesn’t mean they can force you to work if your children need someone to look after them.
Martin explained; “If they won’t furlough you, you do have a legal right to time off to look after your children.
“But you don’t have a legal right to be paid for it. Which is why furlough is a very good option – and of course flexible furlough works there too.”