How employers can avoid a summer holiday meltdown for working parents
July 1, 2021
With the long school summer holiday around the corner, many working from home parents may now be faced once again with juggling a job and childcare.
The pandemic has not been without its challenges in terms of finding childcare; with social distancing and restrictions over indoor mixing limiting some of the options for parents.
Peterborough recruitment firm Anne Corder Recruitment has some advice and tips for employers and employees on how to avoid a melt-down this summer.
Recruitment partner Emma Plummer 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.
“The added pressure of working from home can leave some parents only half-heartedly taking the holiday or leave they are entitled too – as the temptation of ‘just checking emails’ or ‘getting that meeting booked in’ becomes too high.
“Employers will recognise that this year has been tough for parents of school age children, and have a legal and morally responsibility to accommodate reasonable requests from their staff.”
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
- Ensuring that staff take their holiday entitlement and do not feel obliged to ‘work’ during their time off should be recommended
- There may be an opportunity for flexible working; sharing a play date with a colleague or other parent, a temporary change of hours to include more evenings perhaps?
- 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
- Working parents are employers too – so set some ground rules with children to ensure they know when you are not to be disturbed or in a Zoom meeting
- Remind working families that they may be entitled to Tax Free childcare assistance towards summer holiday activities https://www.gov.uk/tax-free-childcare
- Employees facing difficulty in arranging cover should always speak to their manager to seek ways to resolve the problem.
Emma added: “Creating and maintaining a healthy work/life balance is crucial – and employers have a vested interest in the happiness and wellbeing of their staff.
“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.”