A survey of 182 parents by work-life organisation Working Families said 28% of parents had requested flexible working to care for a disabled child during the summer holidays when the difficulties of finding suitable and affordable childcare are acute. This is in addition to 41% who changed their hours, 31% who took unpaid leave and 4% who had to leave their jobs.
The report called on employers to show understanding of parents’ predicament, with 22% of respondents concerned about this issue.
“Many of those who wish to combine work and care are undertaking huge effort to remain in work during the summer holiday period, and making compromises about the care that their children are receiving,” it said.
“Where parents of disabled children make requests to change hours during summer holidays, or to take unpaid leave, this may not be their choice – but a choice forced upon them by the lack of appropriate, available, affordable childcare.”
Working Families chief executive Sarah Jackson added: “There are clear messages here for employers – with a fifth of parents reporting concerns about the need for employers to be more flexible about leave taking. Until we solve the problems of childcare then allowing parents to take leave, or change their working hours to cope with the summer holidays is vital to keep parents in work and out of poverty.”
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