24/7 working means kids miss out

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Weekend working is having an adverse impact on family life in Britain; says a new study carried out by the National Centre for Social Research on behalf of Keep Time for Children.

Around 1.4 million parents are working regularly through the whole weekend while over 2.5 million families are affected by a parent working regularly on Saturday and Sunday.

The problem is heightened among disadvantaged households. The results show that in over a third of families with dependent children in the UK, at least one parent is working regularly over the weekend.

Sarah Jackson Chief Executive of Working Families said: “Low-waged parents are particularly vulnerable to work at weekends. They simply can’t afford to lose their job, and often can’t risk arguing for working hours which will let them spend time with their family.”

Other key findings include:
  • In 200,000 two-parent families, both parents work on the same day at the weekend
  • Over half of parents who regularly work weekends, also work in the evenings
  • Weekend workers are more likely to be poorly qualified or on low income
  • Working weekends is associated with being self-employed
  • Half of the working population regularly find themselves working weekends
  • One in five of the workforce say they struggle to get home in time to see their kids before bedtime
  • Around 75% of workers do not work atypical hours out of choice
  • Most mothers are dissatisfied with long hours and Sunday working – 78% of the latter
  • Around 40% of mothers say weekend working limits time for children’s activities

The study found that what suffered most was time spent as a family and as a couple, particularly in lower income families where parents arranged their shifts to operate a relay childcare system and avoid childcare costs.

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