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Parenting in lockdown: Coronavirus and the effects on work-life balance

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Parents in Great Britain who have been able to work through the coronavirus lockdown have adapted their working patterns around caring for their children. There were some clear trends in how that childcare was delivered.
Publication Date: 
22 Jul 2020

Excerpted from introduction

Lockdown in the UK has presented challenges for families whose day-to-day lives were transformed virtually overnight.

At the start of the lockdown (23 March 2020), many people had to rapidly adjust to a ‘new normal’, with school closures, parents furloughed or working from home, and support from outside the home no longer available.

For millions of parents (or those in a parenting role), this included having to care for their children, including homeschooling them, while continuing to work.

A separate bulletin on homeschooling in Great Britain, offers insight into the challenges faced by those school closures.

Parents fitted in work commitments around childcare

Analysis of time use data has shown that many parents in Great Britain who were able to work, changed their routines to accommodate their new childcare commitments, prompted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

For working parents with school-aged children that said their work had been affected by the coronavirus, 20% said this disruption was at least in part because of having to work around childcare responsibilities.

During the lockdown, parents were nearly twice as likely to be furloughed (13.6%) as those without children (7.2%). This is one example of the added complications for families of the restrictions.

Those parents who worked outside of the home contributed childcare outside the usual ‘nine to five’ hours, which suggests that they were more likely to be working unsociable hours.