School’s out for summer

If you’re anything like us parents here at Attune, you’ve been counting down the hours with excitement but fear and trepidation too.

Or if you remember the Alice Cooper song!

‘No more pencils no more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks
Out for summer
Out till fall
We might not come back at all
School’s out forever
School’s out for summer’

And now, it’s upon us. Let chaos reign. The school summer holidays have begun.

Yes, we love the long lazy days, messing around in the sunshine with our kids (apparently the good weather will last until October!). But thank goodness for the break from the school run, and the endless charging between gym/footy/music/fill-in-the-blank classes that make up the term time weeks.

But for those of us who work, we know you’ll be juggling the ice creams with the emails. How do working parents manage a job and childcare?

Ever ready to get the lowdown, Attune Jobs asked around. Here are our top tips….

Formal route

The Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has published an advice booklet – Holidays and holiday pay designed to help businesses and parents navigate the holiday allowance process. Also, Flexible working legislation gives every worker the right to request flexible working practices. This can include remote working, which will allow you to work from home either occasionally or full time – 26% of parents already do this, and there’s nothing stopping you from requesting the same.

Informal route

However, it is more likely that most working parents will go down the informal route. This means performing something of a decathlon – as you hop, skip and jump your way through and over the obstacles to the final sprint of the September finish line. Here’s your likely mixed schedule of events for the weeks ahead:

Juggle parenting – you may have organised your annual leave so that one parent can take care over the children whilst the other works. However, this allows less time for the family. Not ideal and is something many parents try to avoid (taking into consideration all the other school holidays).  Where parents work part-time – many are swapping their working days with friends.

Ask your employer if you can work from home – many of our clients are very open to this. Working from home is the norm in many cases and in fact some law and professionals services firms insist employees work from home one or two days a week. This means they can utilise holidays clubs for the bulk of the day (see below).

Grandparents – in many cases, grandparents will be taking on a key role. It’s free, probably, and your children are with people they know.

Friends – ask around who also juggles holidays and childcare to see if you can take it in turns. It reduces the need to take extra holiday or unpaid leave. One of us at Attune has developed a rota with her friends to manage childcare. She also compresses her hours, utilising her time when the kids are in bed.

Holiday clubs – there are many that open between 8am – 6pm but many only start 9.30 – 3pm! This adds to the childcare conundrum. That is why many parents will link these into working from home (see above). Do not forget to use your childcare vouchers. Remember in April 2018 this scheme will close to new applicants but the new Tax-Free Childcare is a new scheme which gives eligible families up to £2,000 per child towards childcare costs. This will eventually replace the Childcare Vouchers scheme.

If you’re anything like us, then it’s likely you’ll face an unexpected hurdle or two as the hols progress. But stay strong and don’t worry – all will be back to ‘normal’ in just a few weeks’ time!

In the meantime, enjoy the summer and, we hope, the opportunity to enjoy some well-earned time with the family. Have a fabulous summer holiday – as we read the other day we are likely to only get 18 summer holidays with our kids so we may as well enjoy them!

Time management, Flexible working, Working mums

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