As the school holidays have well and truly kicked in for parents up and down the UK (although can someone please give Mother Nature a nudge and ask her where the sunshine has gone?!) and our social media feeds fill up with ‘end of term’ posts and happy faces heading to sunnier climes, it’s worth remembering that for some, the summer holidays aren’t always the idyllic break that we would all like it to be. For many working parents, the closure of schools for six weeks brings with it a whole host of challenges when it comes to juggling work, sourcing suitable childcare and trying to maintain a happy and healthy work/life balance. Add to the mix the fact that we are in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis with prices spiralling and it’s no wonder that not all parents are welcoming the arrival of the summer holidays with open arms.
Whereas kids excitedly count down the days to the end of term and a break from the confines of school, for their working parents, the arrival of the summer holidays can bring with it extra stresses and strains. Not only are they faced with the nightmare of trying to find affordable childcare but they’re also hit with the associated sky-high costs that come with keeping the smaller family members entertained. Alongside this, there is the added pressure that is placed on Mums and Dads to ‘make memories’ and appreciate every second with their little cherubs and quite frankly, it can all become a bit too much.
Childcare in the UK is already the priciest in Europe and it’s getting more expensive, as quoted in HR Zone this week, ‘working parents are paddling upstream against financial pressures and inaccessible childcare over the summer’ – so what’s the solution? As a nation who as a norm, offers employees 28 days a year of annual leave versus 55 days of school holidays, it doesn’t take a maths genius to see that the sums simply don’t add up! Many working parents who aren’t fortunate enough to have help from local family or friends are often forced to take unpaid leave during the summer months, confirmed by Pregnant then Screwed’s survey of 27,000 parents taken last summer which found that four in 10 parents said that they would need to take unpaid leave to manage during the school holidays. Perhaps the likes of Amazon have the answer; they introduced term-time contracts earlier this year, offering their employees more flexibility and guaranteed time off during the Easter, Christmas and summer breaks and other companies now look to be following suit. It naturally follows that those employees who feel valued and supported will generally be more motivated and productive in the workplace so maybe this is a long term solution that could work.
Here at CHS, we understand what it means to be a working parent and appreciate the potential stresses and strains that come with the arrival of the summer holidays. We endeavour to support our amazing team in any which way we can to help them to take a break, make the most of their time away from the office and gain a healthy work/life balance. So, to all of you out there embarking on the holiday juggle ahead, we’ve been there, we get it and we look forward to seeing you on the other side!