How employers can help working parents ease the summer time blues

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Peterborough recruitment firm Anne Corder Recruitment has some advice and tips for employers and employees on how to avoid a melt-down this summer.

When it comes to achieving a health work-life balance it can be something of a juggling act for most people.

But if you are a working parent on the verge of planning childcare arrangement for the fast-approaching summer holidays, it can be even more stressful than simply covering the daily school run.

Anne Corder said: “School holidays can be a stressful time of year for both employees and employers, with parents trying frantically to arrange childcare, and employers facing additional pressure to accommodate staff requests for leave.

“While employees are of course entitled to their statutory annual paid leave (usually 5.6 weeks) this can also be supplemented by additional contractual holiday entitlement. It is a good idea for employers to try and work with employees to find some common and mutually beneficial ground when it comes to school holiday requests.”

Things to consider:
- Employers can refuse a holiday request, for example if too many employees wish to take holiday at the same time, so try and plan ahead and speak to colleagues who may also be in a similar situation – perhaps there is a way to compromise over the time being requested
- Employers should deal with all holiday requests fairly and consistently, and only refuse them on reasonable grounds and in good faith
- There may be an opportunity for flexible working; either working from home to ensure your child has a parent around during the day or a temporary change to working hours to accommodate times for dropping off and collecting a child from clubs or other care provision
- Parents with sufficient continuous service may submit a request to take parental leave, which allows them up to 13 weeks’ unpaid leave during their child’s first five years
- Employees facing difficulty in arranging cover should always speak to their manager to seek ways to resolve the problem
- For those working parents whose children are due to start school in September, there may be the issue of trying to fit working patterns around trying to settle children into their new school, as many schools operate a staggered start for children. Again, speaking to your manager and getting an arrangement agreed in advance will help to ease the pressure.

However, it isn’t only the school holidays that take their toll. According to research from AXA PPP Healthcare (April 2017) eight out of 10 working parents are using up their annual holiday entitlement to do everyday tasks such as getting a doctor’s appointment, either for themselves or their child, sorting out financial matters at the bank or taking their car for its annual MOT.

Anne added: “Creating and maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial although we recognise that in many cases this may be easier said than done. Demands on time on our personal lives can be huge but your employer also has a vested interest in your happiness and will strive to encourage it in any way possible.

“After all, a happy workforce results in increased productivity for a company and offering a range of flexible working options are a great way for that business to beat the competition and attract the best candidates.”

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