The COVID-19 Series: Furlough and Childcare
One of the drawbacks with the furlough scheme from the outset is that it’s an ‘all or nothing‘ affair – there’s no option to reduce someone to, say, a half working week and the furlough scheme provide them with 40% of their salary. That would enable people to effectively job share with a trusted colleague – both staff members would still be in the workplace (thus avoiding isolation), the company would benefit from the potentially different skills of each person, whilst not having to fork out their full salary if there’s insufficient work coming in.
Morover, this approach would allow those two trusted colleagues to share childcare duties between them such that whilst one is working, they can be safe in the knowledge their children are being cared for by the other, and vice versa whilst the other is working.
Given that COVID-19 looks like it’s here to stay for the next year or so at least – barring radical progress on vaccination – the best outcome for many people may involve congregating into very small, local, social ‘bubbles’ for want of a better phrase. So if you have, say, 5 parents working in a small business, they might each work 4 days a week, and then on the day they’re not ‘at work’ they’re looking after their kids, and those of their colleagues. That would enable everyone to stay in the workplace, whilst also ensuring their kids were with a (presumably) trusted colleague.