Work In The Summer Holidays

Posted: Sunday March 8 2020

By: Banner Jones

The school year is now coming to a close and if you are anything like me you have already given yourself a high five ( in secret of course!). The morning madness you pass off as a routine has worked, your child has made it to school every day and you have productively worked around the constraints of the school day. Now comes the biggest test – the 6 weeks holidays

How do working parents balance work with the school holidays if they do not have friends or family on hand to provide cover?

Many working parents use their own holiday entitlement to take time off during the school holidays, both parents taking alternate weeks off can provide blocks of cover at a time.

The Working Time Regulations and Working Time Directive allow employees a minimum of 5.6 weeks holiday each year. This is not quite enough to cover the whole of the school holidays as well as the additional half terms, Easter and Christmas holidays.

It is important to check your employer’s policy on taking holidays as many employers do not allow you to take more than 2 weeks holiday at any one time. Your employer may also have a policy of only allowing a set number of people off at the same time which can be an issue if your colleagues are also working parents. Employers may operate a separate rota system or a first come, first served policy in which case when it comes to work and the summer holidays you need to plan your holidays ahead to avoid being pipped to the post!


Holiday Clubs

Lots of organisations provide holiday clubs and some are less cost prohibitive than others. This can be a great way of ensuring your child has care and is kept active for the day. One difficulty that can arise is the opening times of the club, sometimes starting later and finishing earlier than your working day.

Speak to your employer about working flexibly for the holidays or those days you need to rely on private care. Depending on the demands of your work your employer may be agreeable to you changing your start and finish time or working some hours from home. If you and your employer can agree this between yourselves, you do not need to make a formal flexible working request and the change can be temporary.

If your employer operates flexible working or allows you to accrue time off in lieu (TOIL) this can be another way to deal with cover. Time off in lieu allows employees to accrue time to be taken at a later date without using holiday or resorting to asking for unpaid leave.

Emergency Time Off

In the event that your child becomes ill or your care provider lets you down, you are entitled to reasonable unpaid time off to deal with the emergency. This should not be seen as an opportunity to take the full holiday period off but is there to allow you to provide immediate cover and make new arrangements. Whilst the entitlement is to unpaid leave, your employer may have a policy of providing a number of paid days across the year and you should check the policy for your entitlement.

The key to successfully arranging holiday cover is early planning and clear communication with your employer.

Work and summer holidays.