With the annual statutory holiday entitlement being 28 days and the amount of school holidays far exceeding that, temporary flexible working arrangements can be the only option for a lot of parents.  Below are some tips for dealing with flexible working arrangements to assist with childcare arrangements for the school holidays.

  1. Taking long blocks of holiday – any requests for long holidays should be submitted to your employer with as much notice as possible. Depending on the industry you are working in, it may suit your employer for you to have a longer break during the quieter holiday periods but equally, if you work in hospitality or catering for example, it may coincide with a peak period and if the pressures are too much on the business then your employer can legally refuse your request.  It is also worth noting that it is perfectly legitimate for employers to dictate when annual leave must be taken, for example annual shutdowns.
  2. If the ideal situation for you is to have flexibility around your working pattern then you should submit a flexible working request to your employer in writing. Any new work pattern must be agreed by your employer but once agreed, it is usually a permanent change to your contract of employment.
  3. If a permanent change is not what you are looking for then opting for a more informal route might be an option. You can try to negotiate with your employer a short-term change to your work pattern to accommodate childcare during the school holidays.  As with all of the above, the earlier you can do this the better, giving everyone the chance to plan for the changes.
  4. Other short-term statutory entitlements are in place for parents such as time off for dependants and parental leave. These are unpaid options and are subject to certain eligibility criteria. However, parental leave is a good option if you can afford to be unpaid and are truly struggling with childcare. Parental leave must be taken in week blocks up to a maximum of four weeks in any year and whilst your employer can postpone your leave they cannot refuse your request to take it out right.

If you need more support or have questions on this get advice from our HR experts to assist you in making the best of a flexible working request.

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