COLUMN WITH CHRISSY MELEADY: Working mothers in particular have had furlough requests turned down

Equalities and Human Rights here in Sheffield have been backing the national TUC survey of 50,000 women.

Monday, 18th January 2021, 2:31 pm

The outcomes of this have identified that more than 70 per cent of working mothers who have asked to be furloughed had their requests denied by their employees, demonstrating a serious “lack of support” for working parents which has been causing massive financial problems and other adverse impacts to children and families, including here in Sheffield and the city region.

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Equalities and Human Rights have been actively engaging on a one to one basis and in class action cases and negotiations with employers in this regard. Rejections to allow for furlough have been widely happening despite the job retention scheme currently allowing employers to furlough parents due to childcare issues. Despite the scheme being in place and following the recent school closures, working mothers in particular have had requests turned down. Sizeable numbers too have been obliged to take annual leave to deal with childcare issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic with lone parent mothers being the hardest hit .

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Director of Equalities and Human Rights UK Chrissy Meleady

Chrissy Meleady MBE CEO of Equalities and Human Rights UK said: “The Treasury in our engagements with them have made it very clear that since the first lockdown, employers can furlough eligible employees who are required to shield, or those with childcare responsibilities, including because of school closures.

“Employers need to reflect upon this and to act accordingly where eligibility is evident. Reconciling work and family responsibilities for working parents is at the best of times often a struggle but during this ensuring pandemic it is more so. Employers need to be sensitive to this and recognise and act upon the furlough eligibility opportunities out there, for the sake of their employees and the children concerned, especially in these days of heightened crisis and school closures.”

*What is furlough? If your employer has less or no work for you because of coronavirus, they can get a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant to help them to carry on paying you – putting you ‘on furlough’. This means you get at least 80 per cent of your normal pay.

More than 70 per cent of working mothers who have asked to be furloughed had their requests denied

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.