Employment law experts warns businesses to use “common sense” when dealing with staff balancing work and home schooling

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AN EMPLOYMENT law expert has warned businesses to use “common sense and sympathy” for staff having to balance work with home schooling to avoid longer term issues.

Ben Doherty, Head of Employment at Scottish legal firm Lindsays, issued the reminder that flexible furlough can be used to help manage professional and personal demands.

The warning  – urging bosses to use a “pragmatic approach” – came after the First Minister announced that home learning would continue until at least mid-February.

Mr Doherty, from Glasgow,  said: “Home working and schooling is a difficult balancing act for parents – and is clearly not without its challenges for businesses with their own demands either.

Employment Lawyer warns companies to use "common sense" - Business News Scotland
Ben Doherty pictured has warned companies to use “common sense” when dealing with staff balancing work and home schooling (C) Lindsays

“The best advice I would offer employers in supporting staff in this situation is: Be flexible, kind, sensible and reasonable.

“By doing that, employees will hopefully be able to help businesses meet their obligations. At the same time, staff are more likely to remain loyal to an employer who has worked with them – and that has to be better for business longer term.”

Lindsays is dealing with enquiries from companies eager to understand how to balace their legal obligations to support staff welfare with moral ones.

The law firm has lawyers based in Edinburgh and Dundee with Mr Doherty stating that the furlough scheme can be used to help firms and families cope with the latest lockdown.

He said:“Flexible furlough means people can be furloughed for even part of a day, with the Government paying 80% of that time’s salary.

“Depending on specific business demands, some managers and employers are taking a practical view that it’s better to have somebody working part-time, able to focus on their job, than them trying to help teach their children while working at the same time. They may get more work done – and more effectively.”

Currently under the Scottish Government’s rules to stop the spread of Covid-19 only children of key workers and  vulnerable pupils are allowed to go into school or nursery buildings.