Poll: More than a third rely on unpaid leave for parents caring for sick children

Poll: More than a third offer unpaid leave to parents caring for sick children

Employee Benefits poll: More than a third (37%) of respondents’ organisations rely on unpaid leave for employees who need to care for their sick children.

A straw poll of www.employeebenefits.co.uk readers, which received 94 responses, also found that 33% of organisations offer flexible working arrangements to help working parents care for their children when ill, while a further 11% provide emergency childcare.

One in 10 (10%) employers enable working parents to take paid carers’ leave when their children are unwell; however, an additional 10% of respondents do not have any provisions in place to support parents who need time off to care for their sick dependants.

Research by benefits provider MetLife UK, published in December 2018, agrees with these findings. Its survey of 1,209 working adults found that 36% of parents are having to take unpaid leave to look after sick or injured children, while 44% are having to use their holiday entitlement for this reason.

Linked to this, 39% of the parents involved in MetLife UK’s research are concerned about the financial impact of taking time off to care for sick or injured children; 22%, for example, claim that looking after their children who are ill or injured leads to increased costs and expenses, while 33% of self-employed parents state that taking time off for this reason has cost them work.

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Just under two-thirds (63%) of respondents would support changes in the law to improve rights for time off work, which could ease the pressure on families.

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