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Self-employed or a zero-hours worker with kids? Get your “free” childcare sorted before the Queen’s Funeral and Bank Holiday

Self-employed and Zero-hours contractors need to get their childcare sorted before Monday's Bank Holiday/ Photo by Helena Lopes via Pexels
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The extra bank holiday observing the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II could adversely affect self-employed parents and workers on zero-hours contracts, HR Magazine has reported. That’s why it is important for these groups to organise “free” childcare sooner rather than later or make special requests to clients for deadline extensions.

The Queen’s funeral is set to take place on 19 September, with King Charles III declaring the day a bank holiday which would mark the end of the UK’s mourning period. 

Are pre-schools and childminders working this Bank Holiday?

Nurseries, childminders and pre-schools do not have to close for the Queen’s funeral on Monday, and it is up to individual settings whether they open on the day, according to the DfE. However, early years settings that close for the Queen’s funeral on Monday will not lose out on funding for the 15- and 30-hour entitlements, according to a Nursery World report.

Some childcare providers have been better prepared than others and have offered parents substitute days. For example, Greg Wolff, director Mighty Oaks Day Nursery & Preschool, told Nursery World,” As a setting, we aim to reflect the values of respect and care.

“The decision we made to close the nursery was a simple one under these current, tragic, circumstances and was made prior to the date of the funeral being announced, with parents being advised that this is what we were doing to allow them to make alternative arrangements if required.

‘We have no wish to penalise either staff or parents so decided that we would pay the staff for the day as an added holiday day and that we would offer all parents with a booking on the day of the funeral a substitute session, where possible. Where this is not possible, we will offer a credit on their accounts.”

Self-employed harder hit

Despite such solutions, many self-employed parents may not be in the same boat. Speaking to HR magazine, Joeli Brearley, founder and CEO of charity Pregnant Then Screwed, said that working parents would be among the hardest hit on the day of the bank holiday:

We all appreciate that this is a time for national mourning, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. But bank holidays can cause real issues for many families, particularly those on zero-hours contracts, those in precarious work and those who are self-employed.

Joeli Brearley, founder and CEO of charity Pregnant Then Screwed

“With schools and childcare facilities closed, it means parents are unable to work and so they lose a day’s pay, yet most childcare facilities will still need to charge as they have to pay their staff.

“Ultimately, this means many families lose relatively large sums of money right in the middle of a cost of living crisis. Others will miss deadlines. Parents with children are more likely to live on the breadline than those without; when you are living hand to mouth, losing a full day’s pay without reducing your expenses can be a devastating shock to your financial stability.”

With just a few days away, it may be wise to call around friends, family, or neighbours that may have the day off and can give you a hand with the kids. Perhaps you even split childcare shifts for the day ( 4 hours each) or offer a free babysitting session for their kids in the future. This can mutually save on costs.

Have you heard of parent plodding? Here’s a rundown on how you can start your parent pod.

Apply for tax-free childcare (criteria pending)

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