Martin Lewis explains how parents can now be furloughed just to look after children – Mirror Online

Martin Lewis has explained how changes to the way furlough works mean you an get paid to take time off work to look after your children.

And that’s not all, with new flexible options and rules meaning this lockdown will run rather differently to the first one in March, even if it feels like we’re back at square one.

And with the days short and the temperature low, hope is needed.

“I want to shine some light and warmth on your finances,” he told viewers of ITV’s Martin Lewis Money Show.

But there were some caveats.

“Furlough is available until the 30th of April. You have to understand though, that furlough is always at the employer’s discretion – they do not have to furlough anyone,” Martin explained.

There is help on offer over lockdown

There is help on offer over lockdown
(Image: Getty Images)

“To get furlough you need to have been on the payroll by the 30th October – it applies to zero-hours contract people, agency workers… you can be furloughed.

“And furlough now is flexible.”

That means you can work just a few hours a week and be furloughed for the rest of it, or take just a few hours a week off on furlough and work the rest at normal pay.

And that flexibility could be a godsend to parents.

Parents can be furloughed just for the hours they need to look after their children

Parents can be furloughed just for the hours they need to look after their children
(Image: Getty)

“It’s important to understand that if you can’t work because of childcare responsibilities, your kids are now at home, then firms can furlough you just because f that,” Martin said.

“Ask them, they don’t have to, but I hope they would be considerate on that.”

If they won’t furlough you, that doesn’t mean they can force you to work when your children need someone with them.

“If they won’t furlough you, you do have a legal right to time off to look after your children,” Martin said.

“But you don’t have a legal right to be paid for it.

“Which is why furlough is a very good option – and of course flexible furlough works there too.”

Martin also had some good news regarding furlough for people classed as at risk.

“Similarly, if you’ve been told you have to shield – and millions of people are getting their letters that they have to shield and shouldn’t leave their homes – firms can furlough you for that reason,” he explained.

“But they don’t have to.”

But, unlike with childcare, you do have some rights to pay if your boss won’t sign off on furlough.

“You might be eligible for sick pay, or statutory sick pay, but not everyone will be and there are gaps,” Martin said.