New survey finds furlough is failing working parents

A tiny fraction of working parents that request furlough for childcare reasons actually get it. Most are turned down.

Novel coronavirus disease 2019-nCoV written on blue folder.


A new survey has highlighted problems for working parents around furlough. Though working dads are entitled to request furlough for childcare reasons employers are not obliged to grant it.

Research by our sister site found most working parents that request furlough are turned down. 

The poll found less than 3% had been successful in getting furloughed due to childcare issues. While 53% who had asked were turned down. A third of respondents hadn’t asked and 13% were not eligible.


The survey on childcare and homeschooling issues during this latest lockdown, found nearly a quarter of parents were worried about losing their jobs or losing self employed work as a result of homeschooling issues. Forty five per cent said they were not worried about this. The rest were either unsure or had already lost their jobs.

Nearly two thirds were working from home and not sending their children to school. Some could access school but chose not to. Mostly this was due to anxiety about Covid. But the survey highlighted that some key workers who don’t work from home have been turned down for school places.

More than twice as many parents felt nurseries should be closed except for key workers’ children and vulnerable children as those who felt they should remain open.


Over three quarters said their employer was sympathetic about them having to homeschool, but a clear majority said their employer was only sympathetic ‘to a certain degree’. Sixteen per cent said their employer was not at all sympathetic.

Many working parents are getting by using a combination of flexible working, childcare bubbles or leave. A small number are using nannies, childminders or babysitters. 

One parent said that during the first lockdown their employer had offered flexible hours, but that meant she was working and homeschooling around the clock and was left exhausted. Another who was doing a similar pattern commented: “It just feels like you have no down time.”

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