A new report by Working Families, Off Balance – Parents of Disabled Children and Paid Work, has found that parents of disabled children are struggling to find or hold down jobs due to a lack of flexible working conditions and suitable childcare.

The report, which analyses the feedback of 1,250 parents, found that 76% of those with disabled children have turned down a promotion, or accepted a demotion, in order to meet their caring responsibilities. The vast majority, 86%, have also found it ‘difficult or impossible’ to find suitable childcare, with 82% having trouble finding childcare that they can afford.   

A lack of flexibility with regards to work patterns is also highlighted as a major barrier, with 91% of parents saying that working patterns have prevented them from returning to work, and 81% saying that they are a significant barrier to remaining in their current role.

These findings follow existing research by Working Families, which has identified that although nearly a third (30%) of parents with disabled children are out of work, a large number wish to return, either for financial necessity or for their own mental health.

The charity is now calling on local authorities and the UK Government to make it easier for parents of disabled children to remain in, or re-join, the workforce.

It is hoped that local authorities will offer appropriate incentives for sufficient and affordable childcare, and that the UK Government will do more to improve the extent and conditions of leave, meaning parents are able to make arrangements without fear of losing their jobs.

You can read more about the report’s findings, as well as what Working Families are calling for, here. https://www.workingfamilies.org.uk/news/off_balance_2018/