Working dads’ furlough requests refused

Working parents have the right to request furlough for childcare reasons, but TUC research finds most employers aren’t interested

Image of a clock next to virus particles with the word furlough


Three in every four working dads requesting furlough for childcare reasons in this lockdown has been turned down.

Shock figures from a TUC survey show the vast majority of working parents exercising their right to request furlough for childcare reasons is refused. And the situation is worse for dads than for mums.

The survey received responses from 55,000 working parents. Dads and mums who feel they can’t work due to school closures are entitled to ask their employer for furlough. That means the government pays 80% of their wages. Employers can top that up to full pay. However evidence from the first lockdown suggests most bosses do not. So parents going on furlough are taking a pay cut of a fifth. Consequently many reported that they feared the impact of furlough on household finances.

Requests turned down

The survey found 75% of working dads that requested furlough since schools closed last week were turned down. 

A quarter of dads are using annual leave to manage childcare. One in 10 has reduced their hours in order to cope.

Although far fewer dads than mums responded to the survey, which was pitched primarily at women, the proportion of both mums and dads affected was broadly the same. 71% of mums had their furlough request turned down, 25% are using up annual leave and 18% have reduced their hours.

Right to furlough

The TUC is calling for a temporary legal right to furlough for parents and carers, along with 10 days’ paid carers leave, a right to flexible work, an increase in sick pay and access to the self-employment income support scheme (SEISS) for newly self-employed parents.

Frances Grady, General Secretary of the TUC said, “Making staff take weeks of unpaid leave isn’t the answer. Bosses must do the right thing and offer maximum flexibility to mums and dads who can’t work because of childcare. And as a last resort, parents must have a temporary right to be furloughed where their boss will not agree.”

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