Millions Of Parents Take Unpaid Leave To Care For Sick Kids: Could You Cope?

In Family, Industry News, Protection by Matthew Tagg

Many parents are having to take unpaid leave from their jobs, or use some of their holiday entitlement, to look after their sick or injured children, a new study shows.

According to the research from MetLife UK, 41% of parents have had to take time off work in the past 24 months to look after their kids who have either fallen ill or been involved in an accident that resulted in an injury. One in four (24%) parents said this had involved an overnight or longer stay in hospital.

The survey of 1,209 working adults also revealed that 44% of parents had taken days off as holiday to look after their children and 36% had taken unpaid leave to do so.

In addition to the stress experienced by parents, more than a fifth (22%) said the situation had incurred costs and resulted in increased expenses. Self-employed parents are particularly impacted when they have sick children, with 33% saying it has cost them work.

Mothers are more likely than fathers to take time off work unpaid to care for sick or injured children, with 46% of women saying they have vs. 29% of men.

When it comes to the financial impact of taking time off work to look after ill or injured children, 39% of parents said it is something that concerns them, while 31% of working adults said the potential costs of looking after a family member worry them. Meanwhile, 63% of those surveyed said they would support changes in the law to ease the pressure placed on families trying to balance family and working lives.

‘Millions taking time off every year’

Speaking about the findings of the study, Richard Horner, Head of Individual Protection at MetLife UK, said: “Parents understandably need to focus on caring for children after illness or injury and the research shows that unfortunately it is an everyday risk with millions having to take time off work every year.”

He added that the number of parents who have to take unpaid leave or use some of their holiday entitlement to care for sick or injured children is “worrying”. He also highlighted the particular difficulties faced by self-employed parents, who stand to lose work as a result.

The bottom line is that everyone should consider how they would cope if a family member fell ill and they were forced to take time off work to look after them. Regardless of whether it is children, a spouse or an older member of the family, the financial impact can be substantial.

By putting a financial safety net in place ahead of time, families can proactively protect themselves from the financial impact that an illness or injury can have. This enables them to focus on recovery rather than worry about money at what is already a difficult time.

Would you be able to cope if you had to take unpaid leave from work, or use some of your holiday entitlement to look after a sick or injured child? If you’re not sure, maybe it’s time you started thinking about putting safeguards in place.

Talk to Premier Choice Group today and discover what options are available to you. Call us free on 0800 970 1618 or click here to enquire online.

I have over 18 years experience in the Medical Insurance Industry, much of that spent working for Aviva Health in the Distribution team. I joined Premier Choice in 2015 and in that time I have been helping clients to develop the best possible approach to protecting their health. My understanding of how insurers work puts me in a strong position to negotiate the best solutions on behalf of our clients.