Furlough, childcare and caring responsibilities – guidance updated

HMRC have updated ‘caring responsibilities’ guidance (on Tuesday 5th January) in relation to childcare for parents who are unable to either work, or need to reduce working hours due to home schooling or closure of childcare facilities.

Information about if you have caring responsibilities has been added:

If you have caring responsibilities

You can be furloughed if caring responsibilities arising from Coronavirus (COVID-19) mean you are:

  • unable to work (including from home)
  • working reduced hours

Examples of caring responsibilities include caring for:

  • children who are at home as a result of school or childcare facilities closing
  • a vulnerable individual in your household

You should speak to your employer about whether they plan to place staff on furlough.

Information about if your employee is unable to work because they have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19) has been updated:

If your employee’s health has been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) or any other conditions

Your employee is eligible for the grant and can be furloughed, if they are unable to work, including from home or working reduced hours because they:

  • are clinically extremely vulnerable, or at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus and following public health guidance
  • have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19), such as caring for children who are at home as a result of school and childcare facilities closing, or caring for a vulnerable individual in their household


Many parents will find their work and home balance challenged by the closure of schools. Even ‘Key Workers’ may find that actual school attendance is only available for a proportion of usual school time with some children being placed onto part time coverage rotas. And other parents experiencing home schooling requirements that may interrupt work time.

Furlough is not a right, but is an option that some employers may want to consider to assist those that can qualify and aid them in retaining their staff members yet supporting families through these uncertain times.

Furlough is a consideration. Employers would still need to meet ongoing secondary NI contributions and also employer pension contribution obligations.

PAYadvice.UK 5/1/2021

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