September 8, 2020
Research by employee benefits provider Unum claims two fifths (42 percent) of UK working parents and carers of children surveyed, had cancelled, or weren’t able to make a health care appointment due to work pressures. This figure is in stark contrast to employees without caring responsibilities; only 23 percent of whom have ever had to cancel or weren’t able to make an appointment. This highlights the disadvantage that working parents and carers of children are immediately faced with when it comes to achieving a good work-health balance.
In addition, 31 percent of parents and carers of children admitted telling their employer they were somewhere else, to cover up the fact they were attending a health-related appointment. Reliance on face to face appointments also takes its toll too with over a quarter (28 percent) of parents and carers of children having had to take a full day off, either as annual leave or sick leave, for a 1-2 hour healthcare appointment.
“It’s worrying that family health is being impacted by work pressures.”
The research also claims the detrimental effect to the health of their children when waiting for an appointment, as well as the time it can take to be able to book an appointment in the first place. 61 percent of parents said they’ve had to wait a day or longer to get a doctors or specialists appointment for their child and, around half (47 percent) of those questioned reported that their own or their child’s condition had deteriorated while waiting for their appointment.
According to the Government’s Modern Families Index, 40 percent of families with one child were in full time employment (both parents working full time), and that 78 percent of parents are working beyond their contracted hours.
Unum UK Chief Executive, Peter O’Donnell, commented: “It’s worrying that family health is being impacted by work pressures leading to missed medical appointments. This year we’ve experienced the perfect storm of working parents and carers also juggling full-time schooling and childcare, and time will tell the long-term health impacts this may have caused.
“If, going forwards, employers want to build a healthy and productive work environment where employee well-being is paramount, it’s crucial they help working parents find a way to achieve a better work-health balance.
“By providing remote access to GPs, mental health and physiotherapy services, it’s immediately possible to make life easier for families to manage their healthcare needs. For many, a video call with a medical professional is all that’s needed to provide peace of mind, knowing that their own health is being looked after, as well as that of the children in their care.”
Image by Katja Fuhlert