Hi – it’s Joanna from DWP Child Maintenance. One of my three children was off school today because she wasn’t well. I had to juggle looking after her with doing my job, and it reminded me about how tricky it can be to manage work and responsibility for children when you are on your own.
Childcare can be difficult to find and expensive too. Once children finish primary school they are still too young to be left alone but too old for the play schemes which might be in the local area. One of my children has a disability too which can make finding care even harder.
What always surprised me though was the way I managed to work things out with my employers over the years. I was lucky that they gave me the flexibility to do some work from home or change my hours to cope with school holidays and children’s absence from school when they were unwell. It meant that I was able to balance work with family life even though I was on my own and that meant we had a little more money to go around.
You might not know this but there are also laws in place to help, such as the right to take a little unpaid leave to take care of dependants in emergencies. Have a look at this information on the Gov.uk website which gives you all the details. You could contact your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau if you would like to know more or speak to someone. Have a chat with your employer too. You might get more help than you expect.