Snow and school closures: what rights do parents have?

Snow is on the way
Snow is on the way
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With snow forecast in many parts of the country school closures are very likely.  Children love it, working parents don't.

But what rights do parents have when they have to call their employer asking to take time off?

Tony Hyams-Parish is a Partner at law firm DMH Stallard and explains what parents can expect.

Tony said: "Section 57A(e) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 allows employees to take a reasonable period of time off to deal with an unexpected incident which involves the employee's child while they are at school (or another educational establishment). School closure due to weather is likely to fall under these rules.

"As soon as reasonably practicable, the employee must tell the employer of the need to leave work and the reason for this. This should include sufficient information to enable the employer to determine whether the statutory right applies.

"They must also tell the employer how long they expect to be away from work (unless it is not reasonably practicable). The right is to take a "reasonable" amount of time off to take action which is "necessary", and this will always depend on the circumstances.

"Importantly, there is no right to be paid during this time.

"Although that’s the strict legal position, many employers will be more flexible. They can allow employees to work from home, make time up later or where a longer period is necessary, allow holiday to be taken. Some will allow the time off without any consequence such as deduction of pay."