School Holidays

(18 Posts)
WickfordMum Tue 09-Apr-13 00:59:40

I am a single mum with 2 junior aged school children. For the 1st time this year I find myself having childcare problems. I work 3 days per week and have just been told by my boss that there are no available dates during the summer holidays for me to take time off. I think I could have managed a few weeks but not all 6.

No family to help, father not an option so the only thing I can think of is holiday club? Please don't suggest the summer club EVERY single day I work, how unfair would that be on them, its their holiday after all! What can I do? Give up my job? That wouldn't help as I don't think I would be entitled to any help as my youngest is over 7 and I seriously do not want to become a Government statistic, Start my own business.... doing what exactly?

I am awaiting advice about the unfairness of the situation from my union but to be honest things wont get any easier for me and I will be in the same position next half term and every other after that.

Any comments / suggestions welcome

GW297 Tue 09-Apr-13 01:12:05

Offer to have your friends' children on some of your days off if they'll have yours some of your work days in return?

Ask if any of your friends have a nanny, babysitter, childminder etc who may be available to do the odd during the summer holidays?

Why is there no holiday time left in the school holidays at your work ?- is it being used by other parents?

Was it divided fairly ?

NatashaBee Tue 09-Apr-13 01:42:29

If you only work 3 days a week, they won't have to be in holiday club for the whole holiday - just the 3 days a week that you're working.

Bearcat Tue 09-Apr-13 08:04:40

How about a university student?
A note was put through our door from an Exeter Uni student who was offering to look after children/babysit in her uni holidays (my kids far too old now) but I would have jumped at that offer when they were younger.
It was always a struggle and they hated holiday clubs.
One summer us and our friends, so 2 mums and dads managed to look after 4 boys between us for about 2 or 3 weeks of the holidays.

redskyatnight Tue 09-Apr-13 13:14:08

Well if you can take even a few odd days, plus the days you're not working - that doesn't come anywhere close to holiday club the whole time?

What do your DC think? My DC are 9 and 7 and actively ask to go to holiday club as they get to play with children their own age. TBH 2 or 3 days at holiday club and 4 or 5 at home each week sounds like a pretty ideal mix.

Xenia Tue 09-Apr-13 14:28:29

I worked full time as a single parent of five. When they were school age we did various options - a few weeks of clubs as you suggest. Then the UK is full of students who cannot even get bar work who often are very very good with chidlren. If your salary would cover it offer a rate per day for someone to work for you - even if you end up working at a loss for those 6 weeks it may be worth it to keep your job. Could they shipped to grandparents? Could you hire a summer au pair even if you and the children sleep in the same room over the summer and she gets the bed room?

WickfordMum Tue 09-Apr-13 14:49:34

Just 1 other member of staff has children, she has taken 2 weeks

WickfordMum Tue 09-Apr-13 15:03:11

Thank you for your responses, I feel like I have been moaning about nothing really as all your suggestions offer solutions but why do I still feel like this is wrong?
The kids both love the odd day at these clubs but quite often they start after I start work and finish either before or at the same time so that limits which ones they can attend if any.
No Grandparents unfortunately, aunties or cousins etc.
Is it too much to ask to want to spend at least 2 weeks in the whole year with my children during their school holiday? Seriously, I love being able to show them I am fun and dont always moan about homework and messy bedrooms.
I will check out the student/nanny thing but obviously only working 3 days gives an indication to cash flow so on my days off would I be able to afford days out even with snacks and drinks from home?
The holiday was not shared out equally at work which is why I have asked advice from the union

Xenia Tue 09-Apr-13 15:07:52

It's difficult. I work for myself so if I take 1 week off in the summer I don't get paid. Most employers if they think the employee is worth keeping try to ensure a reasonably fair spread of holidays unless you work in an industry where the summer is the most busy (hop picking or something where it is the busiest time of year)

NatashaBee Tue 09-Apr-13 16:28:43

In fairness, I do think there should be some rules in place to ensure that everyone gets at least a bit of time off during the summer holidays if there are lots of people with kids in your workplace. Can you suggest that to your boss for next year? Did your union come back to you with any advice on that?

ssd Tue 09-Apr-13 16:32:10

become a childminder op, you'll have years of school holidays to cover

jumpingjackhash Tue 09-Apr-13 16:37:22

If others have booked the time off before you tried to, then that's just the way it is I'm afraid. Shit as it may be.

If there isn't anyone else off, is your company usually really busy then (so it's a case of leaving others in the lurch) or is your boss just being difficult and not allowing you to book the holidays?

redskyatnight Tue 09-Apr-13 16:41:20

OK, so your problem isn't about finding childcare but that you weren't allowed to take holiday during the school summer holidays?

How is holiday allocated where you work? I'm assuming it's either first come first served or you have a system where everyone submits a a wish list and your manager decides who gets what. Is you have either of these systems (or something similar) are you suggesting that you have been discriminated against in some way? If it's just a question of others got in first or you drew the short straw this time, I would chalk it up to experience, maybe ask your manager if you can get first choice next time as you lost out this?

meditrina Tue 09-Apr-13 16:42:10

If there are rules about booking leave, and he dates you wanted were unavailable by the time you decided to request, then I doubt there is anything your union can do about it. It's not an unfair way of managing peak season leave, and indeed is very very common.

You'll have to use clubs, all-day activities which match DCs interests, child-swapping with other parents, au pair or temporary nanny (which can be a grand term for a sensible student). Holiday clubs are nothing like being in school, btw, so I think your concern about DCs not getting break if they go to one are wholly misplaced.

DameSaggarmakersbottomknocker Tue 09-Apr-13 16:44:40

There are other reasons why people might want time off during the school holidays even if they don't have school-age children; their partner may only be able to get certain weeks off/be a teacher or work in a school or college, they may be older and have grand-children they want to help look after.

But yes it's a PITA and why I took a term-time job when my children got to that age.

towicymru Tue 09-Apr-13 16:44:55

It sounds like you have had the summer off in previous years which means others haven't been able to. Sharing the holiday out so everyone gets a few days won't sit well with most people who want to book a week away or two.

Holidays during the summer are not the privilege of parents and they have no right to claim them. You need to look at how your workplace allocates holidays and work within that system. Most companies operate a first come, first served policy which may seem unfair if you are not an organised person but if (like me blush) you have already picked out your summer 2014 holiday and are just waiting for the prices to come out at the end of this month to get a free child place book, then it wouldn't be "fair" for me to have to wait for X to decide which weeks they want off as I had 1st choice last year.

Xenia Tue 09-Apr-13 18:16:52

Usually those without children want to take holidays in September or early July to avoid the higher prices in holidays. My daughter couldn't take the period between Christmas and NY off last year because she had it the year before - and they were doing it fairly at work and not based on who had children.

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