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Vast majority of dads and mums responding to our latest survey cite summer childcare worries.
Summer holiday childcare is the latest source of stress for parents already having to deal with the upheaval caused by coronavirus.
The vast majority of parents admit to worries about who’ll look after their kids over the next six weeks.
Scottish schools have already broken up. Most English schools will stop sending work home from next week. Few summer holiday clubs are opening, due to rules on social distancing and hygiene. Even those parents able to use some annual leave over the school holidays are faced with rules on distancing and a limited number of attractions to entertain their kids.
A poll of parents for our sister site workingmums.co.uk saw over three quarters cite concerns over summer holiday childcare.
Many shared their worries. One parent said: “I need a break and my kids need some fun and routine whilst I am working.”
Another commented: “I’m mentally exhausted by working full time from home while caring for my 10-year-old on my own in the daytime as my partner works in a factory. We have no family to help nearby or childcare we can use.”
For many the summer holidays coincide with returning from furlough. Employers have to pay towards the scheme from August. Several parents reported unsympathetic employers who expect them to have childcare in place.
Employees can ask to be furloughed if their employer has furloughed them before – either fully or part time if they have no childcare available. However, if employers do not want to furlough staff they can say no and there is nothing much parents can do. Single parents can also form a bubble with one other household. Other options are annual leave or unpaid leave.
HR advisers are advising employers to be sensitive to the problems parents are facing. They advise working with parents to find a solution. That could be bringing forward annual leave, allowing work from home or flexi hours around childcare availability or redeploying them to roles where they can work from home.