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Covid coronavirus: Letter from employee unable to work due to childcare needs

(Ref: L4)

Guidance on using the letter template

The letter template below is from an employee unable to work due to childcare commitments arising from the impacts of the coronavirus.

The law allows you a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off to deal with a child care emergency, but there’s no set amount of time as it depends on the situation.  The right to time off for dependents is provided by s.57A of the Employment Rights Act 1996, here.  Normally, this time off is unpaid, although if it is to be for a relatively short period of time you may want to agree with your employer that you take annual leave in order to ensure you are paid.

If you will be unable to work for a longer period we recommend you ask to be placed on ‘furlough leave’ under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.  This scheme provides for 80% of your salary up to £2,500 a month.

This advice is reflected in the letter template below. The square brackets in the letter indicate where you need to delete or insert some information which is particular to your circumstances. In the first full paragraph, only mention the Employment Rights Act if your employer has previously questioned your right.  In any personal detail that you add, keep it short, factual and relevant. 

You can find more information in our website article about your employment rights during the coronavirus pandemic.


[Your address]


[Recipient name]
[Employer’s address]


Dear [Recipient’s full name]

I am writing regarding my current child care situation.

Currently I require emergency time off [under s.57A of the Employment Rights Act 1996] to address childcare issues as I am required to look after my children. Given the current rules on self-isolation I am unable to arrange alternative childcare for the foreseeable future.

In normal circumstances, such emergency time off would be unpaid. But in this coronavirus crisis I propose that you put me on furlough leave, also known as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least four months starting from 1 March 2020. It is designed to support employers ‘whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).’

There is no doubt that your operations have been severely affected by coronavirus, therefore the scheme is for you. Under this scheme the government will reimburse you 80% of my salary up to a cap of £2,500 per employee per month. You can apply through the HMRC website.

I am happy to receive only 80% of my salary so it will not cost you anything  .

I appreciate we are going through unprecedented times, but I think the government scheme provides a solution.

Please let me have your thoughts about how we could resolve this.


Yours sincerely


[Your full name]



020 7717 5259

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