couple on beach

Generous staff discounts on holidays can help parents avoid the temptation of taking their children on holiday during term-time – which could land them with a fine or even a court appearance.

That’s one reason why an ever-increasing number of employers are investing in staff benefits to help create a happy and motivated workforce.

And holiday discounts are particularly attractive to parents – especially as new rules mean there is now no flexibility to take children out of school during term-time unless “exceptional circumstances” can be proved.

Jon Pardoe, managing director of My Staff Shop, said offering holiday discounts to employees was a major factor behind businesses investing in the staff benefits system.

“Keeping staff happy and healthy is a major priority for any business or organisation, which is why attractive discount schemes are increasingly popular,” he said.

“The huge hike in holiday prices that comes with the onset of the school holidays is a headache for parents, and figures show that a lot of people have been taking their children out of school to find a cheaper holiday.

“Last year more than 52,000 fines – that’s about £3 million-worth – were given to parents for taking their children out of school without permission.

“If a member of your staff was among those 52,000 people, it could have a seriously detrimental effect on them and the business at which they work.”

Recent figures showed that 11 per cent of all school absences in 2012/13 were for family holidays, as parents looked to avoid peak-time prices, but new rules which came in last September mean headteachers can no longer grant two weeks of “authorised leave” to pupils

Even before the new rules came in, 52,000 fines were dished out in 2012/13 to parents who took their children on holiday during term-time without authorisation.

Commentators now fear that more parents will risk a court appearance rather than paying the high prices that holiday firms charge during the school holidays.

Mr Pardoe said: “Staff discount schemes like My Staff Shop can be a great help because employees can use the discounts to level the playing field.

“Aside from housing costs, holidays are one of the biggest expenditures that most families incur during the course of a year, so savings of up to 20 per cent can equate to several hundred, if not thousands, of pounds each year.

“My Staff Shop provides employees with average annual discounts of between £500 and £1,000 across a broad range of things, from everyday shopping to exceptional items of expenditure – holidays being just one area of savings.

“Employers can provide access for their staff to the savings through a fully branded online My Staff Shop for as little as £1 per month per employee.”

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