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Help for Young Parents

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 5 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
Childcare Issues Childcare Issues

Workers face pressures at the best of times but when you’re also bringing up young children it can be particularly demanding to juggle both Family and Work Commitments. This is even truer if both parents go out to work which many have to do these days.

Some Facts

It’s estimated that around 40% of all employees have dependent children and that 25% of women return to work full-time within a year after having a baby. For employers, it’s reckoned to cost, on average, £4300 to recruit and train a person to fill a vacancy which is one very good reason why employers should be looking at ways in which they can help to ease the burden for parents of young children who work for them.

Effects on Employers

There are many knock-on effects for employers when a worker chooses to leave a company because they’re unable to cope with bringing up a newborn and the demands of work at the same time and the majority of people who choose to leave, usually women, cite childcare issues as the main reason. Employers then have to bear the fallout from that as mentioned above in terms of the cost of recruiting and training a new member of staff. However, it doesn’t just have financial implications. Many employers point to a dip in Staff Morale when a valued member of staff is lost. Even those workers who choose to return to work after giving birth experience more problems with absenteeism as they attempt to settle back into their jobs but have to also contend with their children’s needs which, naturally, are often put first.

What Can Employers Do to Help?

In order to retain the skills of an experienced worker when they have childcare responsibilities, employers must seek to devise ways in which they can assist parents in combining both their jobs and family commitments more easily. Companies should be looking to see if they can introduce Flexible Working. For example, they may be able to consider different shift patterns (flexi-time) which fit into the lifestyle of a parent or perhaps even consider them working from home on a part or full-time basis if that will alleviate pressure. So many jobs can be done remotely these days with advancements in IT and telecommunications, so much so that many jobs can be done entirely at home without any need to come into the office.

Everybody’s needs are different and it’s important that employers speak to parents and try to come up with any ideas for making life easier for them in order that they don’t end up quitting the job due to unmanageable pressures. This flexibility should also be extended to fathers as well as mothers as bringing up a family is a dual role and one in which a father’s input is equally as important to a mother’s. Workers should be trained to cover different job roles so as to lessen the impact on a company’s business if members of staff take time off to attend to their children’s needs, as opposed to it causing a major upheaval.

Employers should also be willing to educate their staff in things like the tax-credit system which can help workers with children financially and may also want to consider things like contributing to childcare costs or even making provisions for an on-site crèche.

Therefore, this all demonstrates the importance of companies taking the issues of a worker with a newborn or with young children very seriously if they want to keep hold of their best people which, in turn, means that the company itself remains prosperous and successful.

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Mr - Your Question:
What happens if you can't get to work because your child is poorly and can you get disciplined for it?

Our Response:
In general you're allowed time off for emergency childcare issues. This might be some time in which you find someone else to care for your child etc. If you cannot find anyone to look after your child, you may have to use your annual leave. If this happens often, an employer can take relevant action against you.
SafeWorkers - 6-Apr-18 @ 3:33 PM
what happens if you can't get to work because your child is poorly and can you get disciplined for it?
Mr - 5-Apr-18 @ 11:04 PM
When it comes to Family and Work Commitments and the section Help for Young Parents I really do feel that your website information doesn't go far enough in properly acknowledging the challenges employees sometimes face and the need for more honesty in this area.Children of any age (not just newborns and young children) can't be left alone, so the hours employees are expected to work have to be realistic and fit around people's'care commitments'.This is especially not when they're poorly or facing (for example) mental health difficulties (eg self harming) in their teens. The same would apply to someone who has family commitments caring for someone (for example) with dementia.Employers putting undue pressure on people or failing to be flexible could lead employees to be neglectful of someone they are responsible for...which in itself could amount to accusations of neglect and even involvement of other agencies like the police or social services. And it's all very well stressing that fathers are as important as mothers,but the fact is that most parents will need to priortise the highest earner, which could be either parent and the lower earning parent is the one who normally needs to compromise to meet family care commitments- but ironically low paid workers often have less flexibility.So it's a no-win situation for everyone, particularly the lowest paid, part time workers and people with care commitments - often women.
Lou - 24-Oct-17 @ 8:12 AM
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