In a recent survey conducted by MetLife UK, it has been revealed that a staggering two-thirds (68%) of parents have been compelled to take time off work or scale back their involvement in their businesses due to their children falling ill or experiencing accidents.

The findings shed light on the challenges faced by parents juggling work responsibilities with the pressing need to care for their sick or injured children.

Of particular concern is the revelation that over a third (34%) of these parents have had no choice but to take unpaid leave, adding a financial burden to an already stressful situation. An additional 28 percent had to dip into their holiday entitlement to manage their family responsibilities.

Life is replete with moments, both joyous and challenging, and for parents, the latter often involves navigating the complexities of balancing work commitments with family needs. The research underscores the difficult decisions parents face when their children require attention, as the fear of financial repercussions compounds an already distressing situation.

The study, which delves into the struggles faced by parents, also exposes that more than a quarter (28%) of working parents had to resort to using their annual leave unnecessarily when their child faced illness or injury.

On average, parents took around four (3.81) days off in the past 12 months. Notably, 50 percent of parents took up to a week off, while 11 percent had to take an even more extended break.

Securing time off work is no easy task…

Securing time off work proves to be a hurdle, with 26 percent of parents expressing concern about requesting leave from their employers when their child falls ill. A similar percentage (25%) worries about the financial implications of unpaid leave, and 15 percent immediately face financial stress when their child’s illness necessitates time off.

In response to these challenges, MetLife UK has introduced a groundbreaking product named ChildShield. Priced at just £6 per month, ChildShield provides financial protection for parents who need to take time off work due to their child’s illness or accident. The product aims to alleviate the stress associated with unpaid leave and offers additional support through a Wellbeing Support Centre Hub and a virtual GP service (GP24), available 365 days a year, 24/7.

Rich Horner, Head of Individual Protection at MetLife UK, emphasises the importance of supporting parents during these challenging times. He stated, “Parents are already under immense pressure, so where we can, we are supporting parents to help alleviate some of their concerns and help prepare for the unexpected.”

ChildShield, currently available through selected distributors, is set to be widely accessible by the end of the year. Firms interested in exploring the benefits of ChildShield are encouraged to contact MetLife for further information. The initiative aims to provide a comprehensive solution to the financial and emotional challenges faced by parents when unforeseen circumstances arise.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.