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73% of parents stagger work leave to cover school holiday childcare - poll

Published 04/07/2016

61% of parents have to book holidays at least three months in advance, the survey also found
61% of parents have to book holidays at least three months in advance, the survey also found

Nearly three-quarters of working parents plan to take a separate summer break from their partner in order to juggle looking after their children during the school holidays, a survey has found.

Some 73% of parents surveyed for Nationwide Savings have to stagger their leave from work with their partner to cover childcare over the holiday period, leaving less time for the whole family to enjoy time off together.

Meanwhile, one in four (25%) parents surveyed admitted to having "played hooky" in the past, by telling a school their child was ill or making another excuse so they could take them on holiday during term time, when cheaper deals were available.

Parents in the Midlands, London, the North East, Northern Ireland, Wales and East Anglia were most likely to have taken their children on a "hooky holiday" in the past after claiming they were ill, the research found.

Those in Scotland and south-west England were the least likely to say they had pretended their child was ill during term time to take them on holiday.

Three in 10 (30%) parents said they have had to go away on holiday without their partner in the past, with around one in 11 (9%) regularly doing so, due to work pressures.

More than four-fifths (81%) of working parents said they find it difficult booking off the time they need for holidays.

Nearly two-thirds (61%) have to book holidays at least three months in advance, the survey of 2,000 parents with school-age children found.

One in five (21%) usually book their holidays as soon as the work calendar starts so that childcare can be covered at difficult times such as Christmas and summer holidays.

For almost half of parents (45%) this tactic left them feeling guilty about the effect on their work colleagues without children.

Nationwide Savings also surveyed 2,000 working age people who do not have children. More than a quarter (28%) of people in that survey felt workplace etiquette dictated that they should not book leave during school holiday periods - when their colleagues with children would want to take time off.

Close to half (45%) of those without children admitted they felt annoyed or fed up that colleagues with families always get summer or Christmas holidays off, with more women (50%) than men (39%) saying they felt frustrated by this.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, Nationwide Building Society's head of savings policy, said: "As our research shows, planning a family holiday can be a tricky process, with parents revealing not just the financial pressures but also the impact on family and working relationships."

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