Companies should consider maintaining and enhancing flexible working options for parents as children finally return to school, says the founder of a online recruitment platform that matches Mums and Dads with suitable roles.

Louise Deverell-Smith, from Daisy Chain, said, after several months of juggling working from home with the responsibilities of operating as a day-care centre and home school, many parents were looking forward to their children returning to lessons – but this year the transition would be particularly challenging.

“Despite some relief for working parents, there will be a difficult readjustment period as they transition towards a new routine they haven’t experienced since March,” she says.

“Added to this is the stress of preparing for a strict new schooling system designed to manage the spread of Covid-19.

“Now, more than ever, government and businesses must work with parents and schools to find the best possible solutions to ensure families feel supported and the economy can successfully adapt to the return to school.

“This can be as simple as regular communication with staff to understand their individual challenges. Existing measures such as salary sacrifice schemes to fund childcare and flexible working options must also be maintained and in some cases enhanced to provide financial support and reduce stress.”

Deverell-Smith says the government must also play its part by encouraging and incentivising more part-time work to help create and retain job opportunities for parents.

“The flexible furlough scheme was a great example of how this can work in practice, but it must be rolled out more widely and in other iterations beyond the scheme’s end in October,” she says.

The Coram Family and Childcare children’s charity annual survey found that the average cost of a week’s childcare is now £138, rising 3% year-on-year.

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