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3 million days working lost by parents caring for poorly sprogs

Almost 3 million working days are lost each year to care for children that are feeling ill.

Research conducted by, Europe’s leading on-demand video GP appointment service found that parents lose on average 3 hours per month taking children to medical appointments or staying off work to look after a sick child.

A third of parents (34%) said they had taken three or more days off to look after an ill child in the past year.

67% of parents admitted taking a day off work to look after an ill child in the last 12 months.

59% of parents struggled to make last minute childcare arrangements when an illness occurred, whilst 36% percent of parents confessed to roping in a family friend or relative to look after their child at late notice.

Worryingly, almost one in three (28%) of those surveyed said they felt uncomfortable taking time off work to look after a child, or take them to appointments, despite employees being legally allowed time off to care for a dependent.

Respondents stated workload pressures (57%), and presenteeism (31%), the need to be seen working and present at work, as the main reasons for feeling uneasy about leaving work to care for their youngster.

Although there are no set limits on how much time a carer can take off work, employers can ask their employee to take annual leave or unpaid parental leave for extended periods of care.

Research revealed the burden still falls on women (72%) were most likely to take time off work to look after ill offspring.

Eren Ozagir, CEO and founder at, said: “Concerned parents often lose a proportion of their working week trying to meet inconvenient daytime doctor’s appointments, or taking time off to look after them. The last thing parents need when a child falls ill is the worry and stress of work commitments and keeping up appearances.

“Using technology to manage your health and conduct doctor’s appointments can reduce the amount of time they need to take out of their working schedule whilst also reducing the pressures in seasonal illness peaks can put on doctor’s surgeries. Determining the seriousness of the initial illness will provide parental peace of mind and empower them with the knowledge that they do really need to take time off to look after their children.”

Residents in Yorkshire (78%) and Derbyshire (73%) topped the list of regions most likely to take time off work to care for a dependent, as rural areas suffer from reduced primary care coverage and limited transport options.

Meanwhile those in Greater Manchester (47%) and Newcastle (49%) are least likely to take time off work.