Work Life Balance
Work Life Balance is about creating an effective balance between the amount of time spent at work and time spent away from work, crucial for parents raising children on their own.
UK employees work longer hours than those in Europe. This affects the quality of life for everyone but particularly for those with children. When your child is ill and you need to stay at home and look after them, you can be made to feel guilty and even expected to take your own holiday entitlement.
Employers with good work-life balance policies should offer between five and ten ‘dependent days’ a year, to be taken off either in the event of a child’s illness or maybe to attend a school sports day.
Flexi-hours (or flexi-time) offer the opportunity to vary the hours you work each day a long as they add up to a set total each week. Home working enables you to do part or all of your work from home.
There are a range of policies that employers can adopt and some laws that they must adhere to such as the ‘Right to Request - Flexible Working’. This applies to people with children under six or with disabled children under 18.
Returning to work
If you are about to return to work it is important that you consider what type of working arrangement is best for you. If you take a job where the employers are unsympathetic and inflexible then you and your family may end up feeling stressed and unhappy. Don’t be scared to ask at an interview about work-life balance issues. If an employer can’t tell you about their policies it may mean that they are not the best people to work for.
It is now easier to find employers who will look favourably on work-life balance issues and once you have found a good employer your working life as a single parent will be much easier.
Contributed by Working Families who give advice on flexible working, workers with disabled children, maternity rights, maternity discrimination, in-work benefits and paternity rights.