Schools in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will close from Friday onwards, “until further notice” (Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary).

More detailed newsletters on the Government’s announcement on school closures will be issued shortly, but it’s fair to say that at the moment this issue and its implications are cloaked in uncertainty.

It is however becoming obvious that if high-risk members of staff have to be removed from branches (a sensible move of course), there are further absences because of Covid-19 infection/self-isolation and then even more staff have to take time-off to look after young children, it is likely to become hard to offer full services across the entire network.

How Lloyds approaches this and how Government try to safeguard the rights of workers remain to be seen but there is likely to be significant disruption before and perhaps after the Easter break. Whilst employers are entitled to expect staff to try to find alternative childcare solutions these are obviously going to be thin on the ground and with many grandparents being high risk themselves, and nurseries prohibitively expensive, staff will find they have to take some form of emergency leave. Lloyds will need to recognise this reality.

Equally, asking people to travel significant distances to cover other branches, with additional travel costs and travelling time will not work. Lloyds needs to be realistic in its expectations.

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