Parents are having to take unpaid leave from work or use up their holiday entitlement to look after sick or injured children highlighting the pressures on working families, new research from MetLife UK shows.
More than two out five (41%) parents say they have had to take time off work in the past two years to look after children who have been involved in accidents or are ill and for one in four (24%) that has involved an overnight stay in hospital or even longer.
The biggest impact is increased stress for parents – but the research found parents are also suffering financially and at work. Around 36% say they have had to take unpaid leave while 44% have taken days off as holiday. More than one in five (22%) say it has meant increased costs and expenses. Self-employed parents suffer the most with 33% saying it has cost them work.
Mothers are more likely to take unpaid leave to care for ill or injured children – 46% of women have taken time off work without pay compared with 29% of men.
The survey found 39% of parents are concerned about the financial impact of taking time off to look after injured or ill children and nearly a third (31%) of all working adults are worried about the potential costs of time off work to look after family members. MetLife’s MultiProtect insurance, which covers adults for accidents and hospital stays and can be extended to children, offers a solution for millions.
Worries about balancing family and working lives are reflected in support for improved rights for time off work – nearly two out of three (63%) workers would support changes in the law to ease the pressure on families.