What is an employee entitled to be paid if they cannot work due to school closures?

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Published on LexisPSL on 25/03/2020

The following Employment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What is an employee entitled to be paid if they cannot work due to school closures?

For information generally on employment issues arising as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—issues for employers.

The situation is continually evolving and in particular:

  1. the public have now been told to stay at home and may only leave the house for certain, limited reasons. These include travel to and from work, but only where the work cannot be done from home

  2. non-essential shops and community spaces have been ordered to close, and

  3. all schools are now closed, except for children of key workers and those who are vulnerable

See the following government guidance:

  1. guidance on staying at home and away from others full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others

  2. guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

Consideration should be given to:

  1. the right to pay (see below)

  2. statutory rights to time off, eg sick pay, time off for dependants (see below)

  3. the implied term of trust and confidence (see Practice Note: The term of trust and confidence), and

  4. the risk of indirect sex discrimination claims if women are disproportionately affected by a provision, criterion or practice introduced by the employer, as statistically more women than men are the main carer for young children, (see Practice Notes: Age, gender reassignment, race and sex and  Indirect discrimination)

The right to pay

The essence of employment is pay in return for work.

There is a

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