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Working parents

A guide to your rights to change your hours and take time off
This guide is for anyone who is responsible for a child and who has a job working for somebody else. This includes parents, foster parents, step-parents, and any other kind of guardian.

Being a working parent is difficult. It doesn’t matter how good you are at multi-tasking, you can’t be in two places at once. There will be times when you need to take time off work, leave early, or come in late, and you may fear that this won't go down too well with your boss or colleagues.

Children 2 new Lots of parents, particularly mums, find that they have to get used to a heady cocktail of stress, guilt, and worry. And the current economic environment may mean that you feel more vulnerable than usual. But there are laws to try and make it easier for you to be a top-quality parent and a treasured employee at the same time. This guide explains what they are, and our legal agony aunt, Beverley Reid, explains how you can use your rights in the real world.

You have all the rights in this guide if you are an 'employee'. Most people who have a job are employees. If you are not sure whether this includes you, see How do I know if I am an employee? for more details. If you are not an employee, we explain which of these rights you do and don't have.

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Beverley Reid and Mary Webber
April 2011

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Have you ever felt that your boss was annoyed that you need to leave on time to get home to look after the kids?

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