Employment as a parent carer, what would make it easier?

Last month we ran a survey and some web chats asking families about the issues they have around finding or staying in employment.

Last week, we shared with you the things people said were in place to stay in work and what makes it hard to keep working.

This week, we want to share what other things make it easier and what people said they needed from an employer.

What do you need from your employer to make it easier?

Flexi working

  • The ability to work from and office (Flexi Working)
  • The ability to manage and make up my own hours
  • The ability to work as and when according to famiky demands
  • Part time options.
  • Term time working options
  • Flexi time
  • Flexible hours. Reduced hours.
  • A bit more flexibility

I managed well for the last 5 and 1/2 years working 30 hours a week. Now having to do 37 hours a week is unmanageable and I may lose my job

What would make it easier as a parent carer

Flexible working hours. My last employer said they did flexible working but when I asked for it I was turned down.

  • Understanding and time off for my child’s appointments
  • More flexibility to work at home when I need to.
  • Flexibility for appointments
  • Flexibility
    Flexible hrs
  • Work 9 to 2. Flexible working hours and paid leave
  • Option to work from home when necessary
  • Flexibility in terms of what days I work and also what hours of the day the work gets done.
  • To allow unpaid leave for my son appointments or when I struggle with childcare
  • a contract of 1 or 2 set days per week would be better
  • Flexible working hours, reduced hours.

Understanding and Trust

  • Time to talk, care and compassion towards carers.
  • less stress
  • Understanding of situation
  • Back up
  • Understanding

My employer fully supports the ‘family comes first’ approach – as does the whole team and it’s invaluable

  • No backlash for time off
  • Understanding and empathy.
  • Understanding that sometimes i need to leave short notice
  • Nothing, other than flexibility and understanding. You just can’t be in two places at once. There is no magic solution in the workplace
  • Support if I’m late to work I can make my hours up etc.
  • Trust that I will do the work required, not necessarily in conventional working hours.
  • flexibility and trust
  • No sarcastic comments regarding being a part time worker

Diversity Monitoring:

  • When recruiting employees, employers should ask whether applicants are parent carers in their diversity monitoring forms, and assess their performance in recruiting, supporting and retaining this group.

Practical Support

  • Hard one to say – possible some type of benefit where SEN parents can access the advice of a SEN advisor / counsellor when needed
  • Employers to help when Local Authorities abuse their time scales (almost like a third party mediator).  When they don’t comply – it has a knock on affect (a ripple in the pond).  The impact on all, has a wider impact! Not just family but employers and productivity of staff (stressors) the whole [cost benefit analysis] needs to be taken into account, and perhaps employers can act as a mediator to facilitate firm boundaries against LA’s so their employees don’t suffer causing employers to suffer!

What other things would make it easier?

Respite/Short Breaks:

  • More respite care than just the statutory 80 hrs per year.
  • We need much better holiday playschemes with provided transport
  • If the local authority actually met it’s child care sufficiency duties, and ensured there was sufficient provision for disabled children up to 18. Our son can only attend a holiday club one day a week.

School and Transport

  • If local authorities would provide transport home following after school clubs. My son cannot access these as we are unable to collect him from his special school which is an hour’s drive away, and meet the needs of our other child.
  • Help with transport for school due to child’s flexible hours at school.
  • More flexibilty from cahms to do things at different places eg go into school rather than having to go there
  • School being a hit more on the ball and the reintroduction of my SISS support
  • More support in school as some days I have to take calls from my daughter several times whilst working
  • school to stop causing problems and start solving them


  • Childminders who do not mind taking children with special needs.
  • A PA brokerage service. We are allocated 15hrs direct payments for school holidays, but struggle to find PAs so are still left with no support when needed. Local agencies either have no one suitable or do not cover our area.
    Childcare almost is harder the older they get
  • Availability of childcare for older children with special needs
    More understanding from the education system! More appropriate education so that our children can be happier at school.
  • If the gov accept treating non registered providers to be a source of childcare for child tax purposes . I nearly pay all my salary for childcare
  • Available and affordable one to one childcare or a support worker from social services
  • Having regular, reliable, specialist childcare


  • An all-embracing change in the whole of society, led by disabled people and their allies
  • People to start understanding that a child with a disability will affect you for the rest of your life!
  • Better rights for carers

SEN Parent Coach:

A SEN parent coach who is able to guide you on what is needed for both school and EHCP, based on an understanding of my son’s needs. This would be of enormous help, as I currently spend a huge amount of time researching this for myself and trying to find best practice examples for things I have not come across before.

Next week

We will be sharing the things carers said they need from the Government in order for them to find and stay in employment.  You won’t want to miss that, as the General Election looms ever closer.

Debs Aspland

Mum to three great kids, each with a different SEN. Transplanted from the NW to the SE. Co-founder and Director of Bringing Us Together

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.