dad sitting in the grass with his child

Work-life balance... supporting the needs of working parents

9 May 2024

Following on from last week’s Maternal Mental Health Campaign, we’re keeping the focus on working parents. We say working parents, but there will be a specific focus on working mums for reasons we’ll delve into during this blog. Work-life balance isn’t just about time; it’s about having the energy – physical and mental – and finances to get the most from life. Read on to discover more.

To understand more about maternal mental health - the laws and ways to support mothers during maternity leave and returning to work - take a read of our blog - An Employer’s Guide to Maternal Mental Health.

As we suggested in our introduction, we will spend some time focusing on working mums before looking more generally at supporting working parents, and here are a few reasons why:

  • 19% of working mums have considered leaving their jobs due to the struggle with juggling work and childcare responsibilities (HR Review). 
  • The gender pay gap means that in heterosexual couples, working mums use their holiday entitlement to avoid paying for childcare more than men.
  • 79% of working mums report that childcare responsibilities have hindered career progression (HR Review).
  • 41% of working mums have been denied a promotion or learning and development opportunities (HR Review).
  • 39% of working mums seek flexible roles compared to 26% of men, another sign that childcare responsibilities lean more heavily on mothers.

These numbers paint a clear picture of inequality. 

When we factor in the mental health elements, such as those linked to peri-natal mental health, it’s clear that we’re a long way from creating equality and balance among working parents.


Helping working mums find balance

There is a more significant debate at play here, and we’re unable to pick apart gender inequality in one blog post!

Based on the points above, there are ways employers can further support working mums, helping them achieve a work-life balance that will enhance their mental and physical health.

Enhanced employee wellbeing  = higher levels of employee engagement


Why risk losing talent? If more flexibility is needed, provide it. The next generation of workers will demand it anyway. 

Flexibility and a work-life balance aren’t just necessary for working mums. 71% of employees say a flexible working policy is important when looking for a new role (CIPD).


75.6% of women with dependent children are in work (ONS). Most women won’t retire until they are over 65, and their children will eventually come to an age where they can start to take care of themselves without requiring additional childcare.

Why wouldn’t you invest in a working mum’s career development?

The time spent caring for the young will be gone in the blink of an eye, and so may your untapped and unsupported talent if you don’t invest in their futures.


Supporting working parents… Money worries

In another call for flexible working…

29% of adults with children younger than five have reduced their hours or left work altogether because of unmanageable childcare costs. 

The rising expense of childcare is continually in the press, and while the government is taking steps to lower the age of the free childcare allowance, it’s not without restrictions. Offering flexible working and providing childcare vouchers are ways you can help. 

Making the day-to-day more affordable…

Unless your business is in the unique position of creating an office creche, you can only do so much to solve the childcare problem for working parents. However, you can alleviate the expense of the day-to-day and help them achieve a work-life balance by stretching their money further.

For an in-depth review of how to help stretch working parents' salaries, take a look at the blogs below:·

SmartPay is our cost-neutral salary deduction scheme that spreads the cost of essential purchases and those that help create a work-life balance. Ideal for working mums and dads alike, it’s an employee benefit that can truly make a difference, helping employees avoid debt.

I needed to purchase two new IKEA mattresses for my children as their beds were broken. I was going to use my credit card but decided to use our SmartPay scheme to avoid paying interest. SmartPay user

Our Virtual-First Pluxee Card is a digital employee benefit that allows your employees to earn up to 15% cashback when they use it to shop online or in-store. Working parents can earn cashback on groceries, school equipment, uniforms and shoes, baby products, nursery equipment… the list is endless!

They can also use it to create a work-life balance, earning cashback when they treat themselves to a meal out… or a quiet night in.

Discover more here: The Pluxee Cashback Card... the financial benefit for your employees' household.

Then we have the heart of most employee benefit packages - our Employee Discounts Platform. With over 150 retailers onboard, there are endless ways to help working mums and dads stretch their salaries. Making everyday essentials more affordable allows working parents to set money aside, helping pay for childcare when needed.

Saving for the future…

34% of working parents say childcare costs have prevented them from saving for the future (HR Grapevine).

Providing salary-stretching employee benefits is an impactful way to help employees release some cash to put towards childcare, alleviating their financial burden. However, there are other ways to help them save.

Our Financial Wellbeing App allows you to deduct an agreed amount from an employee’s salary and set it aside on their behalf, creating a nest egg for the future.

More time for more of what matters…

We’ve mentioned that working mums are more likely to use their annual leave to avoid paying for childcare, which means they get less time to themselves. Any parent knows that ‘alone time’ is a luxury, but it’s also essential for their mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.

An Annual Leave Purchase Scheme enables all employees to purchase extra days off, and it could be just what they need to achieve a work-life balance, as we explore in our blog - Is an Annual Leave Purchase scheme the key to balancing budgets and life?

We enjoy a debate about all things employee wellbeing, so thank you for reading. Arrange a call to enhance the work-life balance and wellbeing of the working parents in your business today.




HR Review


HR Grapevine