School holidays - are you a supportive employer?

23 July 2020

By Julia Samuel

School holidays - are you a supportive employer?

As a working parent, or someone who’s caring for a friend or relative, making sure you’ve got plans in place for ‘cover’ is part and parcel of everyday life. However, for many people (me included!), this time of year piles on the pressure and with limited options when it comes to childcare at the moment, now's a good time to check in with your employees!

Here are a few things you can do to ease the stress for working parents.

It's good to talk

Do you know who in your organisation is in this situation? If not, find out, as it’s great to be on the ball and check in with how they’re feeling. If there’s a potential issue, talk through the various options you can offer and come up with a plan that’s going to work for you both. Be sympathetic – it can be stressful juggling all the different priorities.

Flexible working

Highlighting that you’re receptive to people working slightly different hours, will help ease their concerns about asking. What about offering informal working arrangements during the holidays? Showcasing examples where you’ve supported other team members in this way shows that you’re open to having that conversation, at the very least.

Working from home

Some of us have probably reached a point where we might like to get back to get back to the office! Equally, if employees have successfully managed to work from home recently, is this still an option over the next few weeks? Having that choice brings peace of mind…believe me!

Offering term time only contracts

This isn’t going to be an option for every organisation however if it’s something that could work, when you’re hiring you’ll be tapping in to whole new pot of talent that can’t make the numbers stack up if they have to pay for childcare during the school holidays. Offering this to existing employees you don’t want to lose is great for retention too.

Unpaid leave

Again, it’s not viable for every organisation or role but offering unpaid leave gives employees the chance to enjoy spending time with their young ones if their holiday entitlement doesn’t stretch that far. Chances are they’ll be overjoyed to be back at work after their ‘break’ too!

Balancing holiday requests

Nudge those that might need to take time off during school holidays to get their request in early. They’ll stand a better chance of getting the days they’re after and can plan well in advance that way too (thank you Sarah!).

At the end of the day, being an employer that shows you care about an individual’s personal circumstances and is willing to look at ways to accommodate them, goes a long way. I’ve been lucky enough to have that with all of the organisations I’ve worked for and it’s something that I would 100% factor in when considering options job-wise.

I’m definitely not, by the way!

Share this article