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Public Sector Strike Action

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Closure of schools and time off for parents

The closure of a school because of industrial action is likely to be a breakdown of care arrangements particularly for younger children. Parents are entitled to unpaid leave to deal with such ’emergencies’. Guidance may be found on the Directgov website. There is a risk of long term disruption given the polarisation in views between a government that is trying to ‘balance the books’ and public sector employees who will understandably wish to resist any reduction in the value of the generous and secure public sector pension schemes.

Employers will have to accommodate some disruption and will want to plan to reduce its impact. Flexible working hours may offer a solution; or it may be possible to do some work from home; or parents may be asked to make up lost hours at other times; or they may be asked to take the time as part of the annual leave allocation.

Employers may find that it helps to be on the front foot and enter into discussion with those employees who are likely to be affected in an effort to mitigate the disruption to their own businesses. If there are other parents and possible carers, some parents will be able to work on some days of disruption though perhaps not on others. Some liaison between staff may help to keep the wheels of commerce turning.

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