How to Support Working Parents Throughout the Summer Holidays

it's the start of the summer holidays

Which means working parents will need more support from their employers...

It’s the end of the year for children, and although they maybe looking forward to six weeks of sunshine and no school, working parents now have the challenge of balancing their work with childcare commitments.

Research shows that 64% of working mothers struggle to manage school holidays alongside their work responsibilities (Change) and 63% of working mothers with primary aged children don’t have sufficient childcare for the summer holidays, this rises to 76% for single parents (TUC).

This summer holiday will be particularly challenging for many working parents, with nearly a fifth of working mothers having used up all their annual leave to manage school closures over lockdown, and around one in eight not having access to their usual holiday clubs or play schemes because they’ve not restarted (TUC).

As an employer, it’s important to support parents throughout the summer holidays, so that they’re wellbeing and their families aren’t impacted.

Here are a few ways you can help…


How you can help working parents this summer:

Continue with flexible working hours:

According to a survey by Avon, more than 55% of women wish their employer offered more flexible working hours, and of those 56% believed that it would make it easier to manage childcare or caring responsibilities.

As an employer you should continue to offer flexible working hours, or if you haven’t already you could start now! This could be allowing them to modify their start and end times or giving them the freedom to go offline at some times during the day when they need to look after their kids.

Work with the parents in your organisation to find a schedule that suits them, it could be starting some work earlier in the day before their kids are out of bed, having a break when they need to and picking up later in the evening.

This isn’t just good for them; it can be good for your business too. One quarter of working mothers cited a flexible working schedule as their number one priority when looking for a new job (TopCV). By offering flexible working for your employees, you’re more likely to attract top talent and retain your employees.

Allow your employees to work wherever they need to:

As part of the easing of coronavirus restrictions, the government are recommending a gradual return to office. It’s important to work with your people who have childcare responsibilities to see where they work best. Some might need to continue to work from home full time throughout the summer holidays or others could want to come into the office if they need to concentrate on a task that they can’t get done at home.

Be more considerate with your employees’ time:

Between avoiding a day that’s full of meetings to being more considerate with deadlines during the school holidays, there are ways you can adapt your working processes to help your working parents. Plus all day meetings, particularly virtually, aren’t good for any employees, with 40% of people experiencing mental exhaustion from video calls (Twingate).

Keep talking to your teams:

Make sure your managers have regular one-to-one catch ups with the working parents in their teams. Encourage these conversations to be honest, and have employees be open and upfront about how they’re coping. It can help if they let their teams know when they need to take time to care for their kids or when they can give their full attention.

Give them the option of more time off with annual leave purchase:

For those employees who want a couple of extra days off over the summer, offering the option of annual leave purchase can help. It lets them spend more family time while spreading the cost over monthly salary deductions over an entire year.

How SODEXO Can Help:

We understand it isn’t always easy to know what employee benefits to offer your employees, whether they’re parents or not. If you want to learn more about the ways you can support your teams, and how they benefit, why not get in touch with our experts? They can help guide you through solutions and plans you can put in place to help your employee wellbeing.

Click here to find out more about providing support for your employees with an Employee Assistance Programme


EY Global