What support can employers offer working parents during the summer break?

The school holidays have started and for parents juggling work with childcare, it can be a highly stressful few weeks.

With the rising cost of living, this year’s 6 week break is likely to put even more pressure on parents. A recent study found that the average cost of summer childcare is close to £1,000 per child.[1] A staggering figure that will alarm many families who can’t rely on their extended network for support.


In this blog, we will look at what, if anything, employers can do to alleviate some of the stress on working parents in the coming weeks.

  1. Be truly flexible – Allow your employees to work their core working hours when it suits them. This will be a huge support to their wellbeing and helps them in balancing work and childcare.

  2. Leave options – try and be as flexible as possible when allowing your people to take their leave and make sure they understand all the options available to them. Are they entitled to parental leave, carers leave or dependants leave?
  3. Organise Summer Activities: Create a sense of camaraderie and foster team spirit by organizing summer activities for your staff. These can include team-building exercises, sports events, or even a company picnic. Not only do these activities help reduce workplace stress, but they also provide an opportunity for employees to unwind and connect with their colleagues outside of the usual work setting.


  1. Benefits and rewards: Consider working parents in your pay and reward schemes. Whilst the traditional childcare vouchers are no longer available, there are other benefits in kind that could help parents reduce childcare costs, including making a direct payment to a childcare provider. If you have a high population of working parents, ask them what benefits would make the most difference to them and tailor your schemes to that.


  1. Promote Employee Well-being: During busy periods, it’s essential to prioritise employee well-being. Encourage staff to take regular breaks, promote healthy eating habits, and provide access to well-being resources, such as counselling services or mindfulness workshops. A physically and mentally healthy workforce will be more engaged and focused, leading to better outcomes for the business.


What other help is available for working parents as childcare costs continue to soar?

  • Government support – encourage employees to check whether they are entitled to any government support. Here is a useful website.
  • Local support – authority run groups are typically cheaper than privately run ones so it could be helpful to highlight the options within a radius of the workplace.
  • Free food initiative – Many businesses and communities are offering free food initiatives to help parents through the summer. For example, if you go into a Morrison’s café as ‘Ask for Ellen,’ everyone and anyone, both adults and children, will receive two toasted crumpets, with butter and jam for free – no questions asked. Highlight these kind of initiatives to parents so they can save money in other ways.

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[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-66193974