School holidays ‘will be a struggle’ for working mothers

The survey showed the situation was worse for single mums.

School holidays ‘will be a struggle’ for working mothers Getty Images

Almost two in three working mothers with primary school age children do not have enough childcare for the school summer holidays, research suggests.

Working mothers across the public and private sector reported huge challenges in balancing work and childcare, with three in five (60%) saying they would find it more difficult during holidays this year than previously, a survey indicated.

The TUC and campaigner Mother Pukka said their survey of 36,000 mothers showed the situation was worse for single mums, with more than three in four fearing they do not have adequate childcare for upcoming holidays.

Many respondents said they had already used all their annual leave to accommodate home schooling during lockdowns or do not have access to their usual school holiday clubs.

The TUC said the school holidays will be a struggle for working mothers, adding that they are relying on being able to work more flexibly to help them cope.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Women have borne the brunt of the pandemic, on the front line in key worker roles and at home. Working mums picked up the lion’s share of caring responsibilities while schools were closed, with many sacrificing hours and pay to do so.

“While restrictions may be lifting and ministers talk about us getting back to normal, working mums are still feeling the impact of the pandemic.

“Most mums told us they don’t have enough childcare for the upcoming school holidays and are now facing a huge challenge managing their work and caring responsibilities this summer.

“It shouldn’t be this difficult. If ministers don’t act, we risk turning the clock back on generations of progress women have made at work.

“It’s clear parents are relying on flexibility more than ever to cope with the extra demands posed by the crisis.

“I’d urge employers to be as supportive as they can to their staff who have kids, and not force them back to the office if working at home helps them balance their work and childcare.”

Founder of Mother Pukka, Anna Whitehouse, said: “There are approximately 62 days of holiday a year, and the average employee holiday allowance is 25 days. The maths simply doesn’t add up.

“If we are going to recover from this pandemic and ensure the playing field is level for men and women at some point in the future, we need childcare to be part of our infrastructure – as important as roads, railways and signposts.

“If it’s tough for a two-parent family, have a moment to consider a single-parent family. The current system has parents at breaking point.”

The TUC is calling on the Government to introduce a legal right to flexible work for all workers from their first day in a job and a duty to include available flexibility in job adverts.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code