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Working parents lying over home-schooling

A lack of flexible working options has forced many employees to lie to their bosses during lockdown.

One in three (33%) working parents have admitted to bending the truth around home-schooling according to a new poll by HR payroll advisor MHR International.

It found that working parents have been reluctant to tell the truth about how they are coping with the balance between homeschooling and work.

Many parents feel they are under pressure, with 42% reporting their employer had failed to offer flexible working options to ease the burden of homeschooling.

These findings come after the government updated its guidance on which employees can access the furlough scheme.

Last week it announced that employers can choose to furlough employees to enable them to home-school their children while COVID-19 restrictions require schools to close.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of parents said in the poll they have not felt confident enough to ask or considered asking for greater flexibility so they can educate their children and do their job.

A further 13% of respondents said they have had to take unpaid leave to support their children with home learning.

“Yet again parents across the country are facing the nightmare of juggling work with home-schooling requirements,” said Dawn Brown, HR lead at MHR.

She added: “For some, particularly those with younger children, this is an incredibly difficult time. Naturally they want to support their children, but they also know that they have a day job and are incredibly torn as to what they do.”

Brown suggested that compassionate employers must take the time to listen to their employees.

“Regular check-ins to understand who may be at risk of burnout or mental health issues as they try to juggle all of their responsibilities are important,” she said.

“Solutions such as flexitime or compressed hours to allow parents the necessary time to home school and avoid the guilt factor can be considered. No two families are alike, and a flexible mindset based on real understanding of how employees can be supported is required on the part of the employers to make this incredibly difficult time manageable.”

MHR International started the survey on 4 January and interviewed 1,060 respondents.

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