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Options for working parents during teachers’ strikes

The National Education Union (Cymru) has announced that teachers in Wales are set to strike over pay on four dates during February and March 2023. The first national strike will take place on 1 February and approximately 1,500 workplaces will be affected. The remaining three strikes are anticipated to take place on 14 February, 15 March and 16 March 2023.

So what options are available for working parents during these strikes?

  1. An employee’s contractual arrangements may allow them to work flexibly. Review employment contracts/flexible working arrangements with employees to ascertain whether they are permitted to work from home. This may enable them to juggle their work around their caring responsibilities.
  • Subject to eligibility criteria, one being a requirement to have been continuously employed for at least a year, employees could also explore whether they can take unpaid parental leave. This form of statutory leave entitles eligible employees to 18 weeks’ unpaid leave per child for the purpose of caring for that child. However, the leave is to be taken in week blocks (not individual days), is limited to 4 weeks per year per child and 21 days’ notice must be given (unless agreed otherwise by the employer).
  • All employees irrespective of length of service, also have a statutory right to take a reasonable amount of time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependent. However, this form of unpaid leave is not suitable if the situation is known about beforehand. Therefore, if the dates of the strikes are publicised in advance, this type of leave will not be suitable and an employee may wish to consider unpaid parental leave instead (see above).
  • If employees do not want to see a dip in their pay, they may wish to consider using their accrued annual leave on the days that the strikes are due to take place.

Please do not hesitate to contact our Employment Team if you require any advice.