If you work full time in the UK, you are entitled to at least 28 days of paid annual leave, including the eight bank holidays. However, for parents of school-age children, the numbers don’t quite add up. First of all, there are all of those weeks at half-term. Next, there are the Easter and Christmas holidays. And then, of course, there’s the ‘big one’ - summer holidays lasting a full six weeks.
Parents are forced to choose between expensive childcare or relying on friends and family members to look after the children when they aren’t able to. Babysitters can get ill, go on holiday or simply be unreliable. Funds may not be able to stretch to cover childcare. So, what can you do?
What the law says
The law says that employers must offer some form of flexibility when it comes to their employees’ emergency childcare needs. This usually comes in one of two forms:
However, sometimes, there’s no choice for parents but to bring their children to work. But is there any legislation around doing this, or are the parameters decided by your employer?
It’s fundamentally down to your employer
If you work somewhere like a factory line or hospital, it is very unlikely that you will be able to bring your children into work. However, some spaces may be more suitable, such as offices or schools. The ultimate decision is down to your employer.
If you are allowed to bring your child into work
If your employer decides that you are allowed to bring your children into work, it is critical that both employer and employee are aware of the risks involved:
In order to negate these risks, employers should consider putting in place:
The idea of a creche in the workplace is not a new idea. In fact, it was way back in 2003 when Goldman Sachs brought London’s first on-site creche to the workplace. It offers its employees with children 20 free creche days per year, followed by paid use, allowing them to maintain a better work/life balance without having to leave the office.
Offering such facilities is usually expected to create an initial drop in productivity, but in fact, the opposite is the case. The ability to leave your kid somewhere close by and safe while you get on with your working day transitions into an increase in staff loyalty and retention, both of which dramatically improve productivity levels overall. However, running an on-site creche is far from cheap, meaning currently, only a few large companies (Google, Addison Lee and BookingGo for example) can explore this option easily.
If you need advice on whether you can bring your children into work, or if you’re an employer and are looking for advice on the matter and in relation to staff handbook policies, contact our Employment Law team.
Contact: Lewis Holroyd on 01484 821 415 or email@example.com