What are my rights if I can’t go to work because my child’s school has closed in the light of the coronavirus pandemic?

  • If you are an employee you have a right, by law, to take a type of leave called 'time off for dependents'
  • This a right to take 'reasonable' time off to take care of an emergency relating to a child or other dependent, including school closures
  • It's important to note that what counts as 'reasonable' depends on the circumstances - it is a grey area in law as to what might be deemed 'reasonable' in regards to coronavirus
  • The statutory right is to unpaid time off. Your contract may include a term, or your employer might have a policy that gives you paid time off in an emergency, so you should check these
  • Your employer may pay you for a short period of time off, even if it's not a contractual right
  • Alternatively, you could see if you are able to work from home, change your shift pattern, or take annual leave

You can get free confidential advice from Citizens Advice Cheshire West Owing to the Coronavirus outbreak we have closed our offices to face to face services.  We are providing advice through adviceline: 0344 5766111 Monday to Friday between 10am-12.30pm and 1pm - 4pm, and by email and webchat accessed through the Citizens Advice website.  Please click on this link for up to date information on our services.

Copyright Citizens Advice.  The advice provided in this advice column was published on 16 March 2020.  For the most up-to-date advice, please visit our Citizens Advice public siteYou can also read guidance on how the UK is affected by coronavirus on GOV.UK. This guidance from the government is updated every day.