Juggling childcare and work affects wellbeing

At least one third of working parents are struggling to manage both childcare and job responsibilities, according to new research.

In a study of 1,123 workers by Willis Towers Watson, 34% of parents said that balancing childcare responsibilities with work has negatively affected their health or mental wellbeing.

The survey also found that only 27% of workers said their employer currently offers childcare support or benefits and one third said their employers don't pay maternity or paternity leave above the statutory minimum.

"Although the Government's new Tax-Free Childcare scheme may be helping to address the financial burden, this is just one piece of the jigsaw," said Mike Blake, director at Willis Towers Watson Health & Benefits.

"For some parents, additional benefits such as further financial support, access to a workplace nursery or provision of flexible working practices, may prove invaluable."

The right to request flexible working was extended from parents and carers to all employees with 26 weeks' or more continuous service in June 2014. However, such requests can be turned down as long as they are dealt with in a "reasonable manner" by the employer.

According to almost a third of workers (30%), employers should be offering more childcare support - a statistic that rises to 42% for those aged between 25 and 34.

Providing adequate support for working parents is also beneficial for business, said Blake. "Supporting working parents can have a positive impact for organisations in a number of key areas. By looking after their financial and emotional wellbeing, incidents of sickness absence can be reduced and productivity can be increased through improved levels of motivation and engagement. Furthermore, support for this important workforce demographic can reinforce an organisation's reputation as an employer of choice and, in turn, help boost recruitment and retention."

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