Parents are paying the price for taking time off work to look after sick or injured children in the shape of extra costs, cancelled holidays, unpaid leave and increased stress.
New research from MetLife UK shows 76% parents taking time off work to care for children in the past two years say it has had an impact at work. The worst-affected are self-employed parents with more than two out of five (43%) losing jobs or contracts as a result.
More than half (54%) of working parents are concerned about the potential costs of taking time off work to look after children. The research shows the need to take time off is very likely with nearly one in five (18%) taking days off in the past two years to care for children injured in accidents and 46% taking time off to look after sick children. Around one in four (23%) have had to stay overnight or longer in hospital with children.
The biggest impact from taking time off to look after children is having to use up holidays – 40% of those questioned said they or their partner had to count time off as part of their holiday entitlement while 31% were made to take unpaid leave from work.
Nearly two out of five (36%) say time off to look after children has meant increased stress while 13% say they have been landed with extra bills as a result.
Parents recognise the benefits of having financial protection for their children in the event of accidents or hospital stays – around 57% questioned said protection was important. However just around half of them actually have financial protection for their children or are considering buying it.
Around 28% say protection is important but do not believe they can afford it while 29% say they are not aware protection specifically for children is available.
Richard Horner, Head of Individual Protection, MetLife UK said: “Balancing work and family life leads to all sorts of pressures for working parents and the pressure intensifies when children are sick or injured and their parents need to take time off work.
“Parents are paying the price in unpaid leave, lost holiday entitlement and extra bills for looking after children. This makes it important that they look at how they can protect their family.”