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A workingmums.co.uk poll shows that the vast majority of parents are worried about summer holiday childcare during the pandemic.
Over three quarters of parents say they are worried about summer holiday childcare, according to a workingmums.co.uk poll.
The poll of over 360 parents comes amid concerns that not all holiday playschemes will be operating and that many parents have already used up annual leave and cannot afford to take unpaid leave to get through the summer.
One mum 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.”
Parents also raised the problems of social distancing and safety in holiday playschemes, many of which centre on hands on activities, with parents of special needs children particularly worried.
One parent said: “I hope the holiday clubs can run again – nearly 100 days since the schools shut and holding down jobs and childcare is impossible.”
For many the summer holidays coincide with when they are being taken off furlough as employers begin having to pay towards the scheme from August. Several parents are reporting that some employers are unsympathetic to their worries and expect them to have childcare in place.
One single mum of three who is typical of those getting in touch with workingmums.co.uk said: “I’m in desperate need of advice about my situation. I have been on furlough and am due back this week. The problem is I’m a single parent of three children and school and my private childcare are closed until September and I don’t have any other support ie, family etc to help. This is causing a great deal of stress for me, to the point of me sobbing on the phone to my area manager. The company have refused furlough and want me back on my normal hours.
“They have said I can use holidays and two weeks unpaid leave, but this is an awful lot of holidays and unpaid days no matter how I look at it and, because I’m the only person bringing in a wage, being unpaid is causing stress and I can’t use that much holiday because what will I do all the way to April.
“And to top it all they said if I don’t use it I have to resign and if I don’t they will take me down the disciplinary route and probably sack me anyway. This, as you can imagine, has left me with no place to go regarding options. All I do is cry in front of my children, scared about what will happen. I don’t know what to do and the worry is making me ill.”
Apart from unpaid leave and annual leave, 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.
HR advisers are advising employers to be sensitive to the problems parents are facing and to work with them to find a solution, whether that is bringing forward annual leave, allowing them to work from home or flexi hours around childcare availability or redeploying them to roles where they can work from home.