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Office Show 2014 - 7th & 8th October

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Office is the UK's leading exhibition and conference for PAs, EAs, VAs and Office Managers now returning for its 5th year.Office 2014 is an unrivalled way of sourcing 100's of innovative products, technologies and services from over 175 leading suppliers all under one roof.Tuesday 7th October, the first day of office will be National PA Day - the day dedicated to the people who make Britain's offices work!Babyblooms will be exhibiting our new range of baby clothing bouquets, hand-made chocolates...

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Office Show 2014 - 7th & 8th October

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Office is the UK's leading exhibition and conference for PAs, EAs, VAs and Office Managers now returning for its 5th year.

Office 2014 is an unrivalled way of sourcing 100's of innovative products, technologies and services from over 175 leading suppliers all under one roof.

Tuesday 7th October, the first day of office will be National PA Day - the day dedicated to the people who make Britain's offices work!

Babyblooms will be exhibiting our new range of baby clothing bouquets, hand-made chocolates and natural skincare at Office 2014 which is being held at:

Olympia National, London

Come and visit us on Stand No: 3049

Opening Times: 10.00 am - 5.00 pm


Directions/Travel Info:

It is recommended to travel by Overground to the venue - change at Shepherd's Bush or West Brompton.

London Overground and Southern trains run direct services to Kensington (Olympia). Direct services run from Clapham Junction, Balham, East Croydon, Shepherd's Bush, Watford Junction, Milton Keynes Central, Willesden Junction, West Hampstead and Stratford.

 
A number of Buses all stop within very short walking distance to the venue.

For full travel information and directions visit www.olympia.co.uk

Register online before 6th October for Free Admission to the exhibition. Click on the link below:-

Vis-pass-button

https://www.officeshow.co.uk/

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The Professional Mum - Applying to University

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If your child is about to enter Year 13, they may be considering making an application to university. The pros of a university education are well known: the achievement of intellectual satisfaction, the cut and thrust of academic debate and the chance to live independently, not to mention the potential enhanced earning power.

Universities in the UK offer more than 43,000 courses covering over 1,000 subjects so there is a course for almost everyone. The administration process of university application begins early in year 13, so by now, ideally, your child should have an emerging idea of the course that they wish to pursue and where they want to study. The UCAS website details universities and the courses that they offer. University websites outline course content in more detail, and often offer open days where prospective students and their families can meet academics and students, also viewing teaching facilities and accommodation.

Students can apply for up to five courses. If they choose fewer, they can add extra ones later. There is no order of preference and universities are not told which other institutions the student has applied to. Entry requirements for most courses hinge on applicants' exam results. Most take A-levels but 49 types of qualification are officially recognised by UCAS, including BTEC, Scottish highers and the International Baccalaureate. A good starting point is to check the entry requirements in terms of both qualifications and suitability for the course. If your child is in year 13 and therefore still studying for a qualification needed to win a place on a higher education course the course provider might make a conditional offer.

Some courses will require prospective students to attend an interview, audition or provide a portfolio. This gives the course providers the opportunity to meet students before making an offer.

www.ucas.com

 

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The Professional Mum - Applying to University

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If your child is about to enter Year 13, they may be considering making an application to university. The pros of a university education are well known: the achievement of intellectual satisfaction, the cut and thrust of academic debate and the chance to live independently, not to mention the potential enhanced earning power.

Universities in the UK offer more than 43,000 courses covering over 1,000 subjects so there is a course for almost everyone. The administration process of university application begins early in year 13, so by now, ideally, your child should have an emerging idea of the course that they wish to pursue and where they want to study. The UCAS website details universities and the courses that they offer. University websites outline course content in more detail, and often offer open days where prospective students and their families can meet academics and students, also viewing teaching facilities and accommodation.

Students can apply for up to five courses. If they choose fewer, they can add extra ones later. There is no order of preference and universities are not told which other institutions the student has applied to. Entry requirements for most courses hinge on applicants' exam results. Most take A-levels but 49 types of qualification are officially recognised by UCAS, including BTEC, Scottish highers and the International Baccalaureate. A good starting point is to check the entry requirements in terms of both qualifications and suitability for the course. If your child is in year 13 and therefore still studying for a qualification needed to win a place on a higher education course the course provider might make a conditional offer.

Some courses will require prospective students to attend an interview, audition or provide a portfolio. This gives the course providers the opportunity to meet students before making an offer.

www.ucas.com

 

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The Professional Mum - The First Day of School....

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For some Professional Mums their child's first day of school may be fast approaching! There are a few practical steps you can take in order to ensure a smooth transition to "big school" and lessen the likelihood of tears (theirs and yours!)

You are likely to have already started talking to your child about school and have probably also visited. Settling-in sessions are beneficial where your child has the opportunity to meet and get to know their class teacher, familiarise themselves with their classroom and be aware of where the toilets are.

If you know of any your child's prospective classmates, arranging play dates over the summer holidays is a good idea - familiar faces can be reassuring on the first day, for both you and your child.

So the big day arrives! Try and make starting school as exciting as possible. Get up early; always overestimate how long it will take to get ready, especially if your child is insistent on dressing themselves in their smart new uniform! Moving forward, establish a morning routine that gives both you and your child enough time to get ready, especially when you have to get to work yourself.

The photo of your child kitted out in their uniform on their first day is a must, but don't forget to label everything with name tapes. Sticky labels with their name on can be handy for lunch boxes and waterbottles, ensuring a swift return if they are mislaid.

At first the days will seem long and the constant stimulation of school will be tiring - try and make time for your child to relax at home. Show a genuine interest in the activities and events that your child describes at the end of their school day. If you have any worries or concerns at all, make a point of talking to your child's teacher.

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For some Professional Mums their child's first day of school may be fast approaching! There are a few practical steps you can take in order to ensure a smooth transition to "big school" and lessen the likelihood of tears (theirs and yours!)

You are likely to have already started talking to your child about school and have probably also visited. Settling-in sessions are beneficial where your child has the opportunity to meet and get to know their class teacher, familiarise themselves with their classroom and be aware of where the toilets are.

If you know of any your child's prospective classmates, arranging play dates over the summer holidays is a good idea - familiar faces can be reassuring on the first day, for both you and your child.

So the big day arrives! Try and make starting school as exciting as possible. Get up early; always overestimate how long it will take to get ready, especially if your child is insistent on dressing themselves in their smart new uniform! Moving forward, establish a morning routine that gives both you and your child enough time to get ready, especially when you have to get to work yourself.

The photo of your child kitted out in their uniform on their first day is a must, but don't forget to label everything with name tapes. Sticky labels with their name on can be handy for lunch boxes and waterbottles, ensuring a swift return if they are mislaid.

At first the days will seem long and the constant stimulation of school will be tiring - try and make time for your child to relax at home. Show a genuine interest in the activities and events that your child describes at the end of their school day. If you have any worries or concerns at all, make a point of talking to your child's teacher.

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The Professional Mum - Childcare for the Summer Holidays

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For many professional mums at this time of year, thoughts turn to their childcare arrangements during the school summer holidays.

Options to consider are drafting in willing relatives to help, or offering mutual support to friends in a similar position.

Another source of inspiration could be Bristol City Council's Family Information Service, offering free, impartial information and guidance on a full range of childcare and children's services and resources across the city. Information is available on finding childcare, with a list of childcare options in your area, along with contact details. Type 'holiday club' into the Childcare Search on their 1BigDatabase and you'll find a list of relevant providers. You can then contact them to check the hours they can provide childcare, the cost and availability.

In addition, the Family Information Service has achieved the Families First Accreditation, a quality assurance process developed by NAFIS (The National Association of Family Information Services) in conjunction with the Department for Education (DfE) as a tool to measure the effectiveness of delivery of its statutory obligation to meet the Information Duty in Section 12 of the 2006 Childcare Act.

Other professional mums' experiences of a childcare provider may also be useful. However, although personal recommendations can be helpful, you should always take up other references.

You may find details of local childcare providers on noticeboards at local schools, community centres, libraries, or shops. But again, always remember to check references.

Visiting your chosen childcare setting is a good idea. Some things to look for include trained and experienced staff, ready to respond to your child's individual needs and busy but relaxed children who seem happy and purposeful. Premises need to be safe and clean with outside play space, and fun activities should be planned each day with the childrens' interests and enthusiasms in mind. Also look out for a warm welcome for you and your child!

www.bristol.gov.uk/page/children-and-young-people/family-information-service

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For many professional mums at this time of year, thoughts turn to their childcare arrangements during the school summer holidays.

Options to consider are drafting in willing relatives to help, or offering mutual support to friends in a similar position.

Another source of inspiration could be Bristol City Council's Family Information Service, offering free, impartial information and guidance on a full range of childcare and children's services and resources across the city. Information is available on finding childcare, with a list of childcare options in your area, along with contact details. Type 'holiday club' into the Childcare Search on their 1BigDatabase and you'll find a list of relevant providers. You can then contact them to check the hours they can provide childcare, the cost and availability.

In addition, the Family Information Service has achieved the Families First Accreditation, a quality assurance process developed by NAFIS (The National Association of Family Information Services) in conjunction with the Department for Education (DfE) as a tool to measure the effectiveness of delivery of its statutory obligation to meet the Information Duty in Section 12 of the 2006 Childcare Act.

Other professional mums' experiences of a childcare provider may also be useful. However, although personal recommendations can be helpful, you should always take up other references.

You may find details of local childcare providers on noticeboards at local schools, community centres, libraries, or shops. But again, always remember to check references.

Visiting your chosen childcare setting is a good idea. Some things to look for include trained and experienced staff, ready to respond to your child's individual needs and busy but relaxed children who seem happy and purposeful. Premises need to be safe and clean with outside play space, and fun activities should be planned each day with the childrens' interests and enthusiasms in mind. Also look out for a warm welcome for you and your child!

www.bristol.gov.uk/page/children-and-young-people/family-information-service

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The Professional Mum - Paternity Leave

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We’ve previously talked about maternity leave in this column, but how paternity leave works is also of interest to the Professional Mum, not least because the Additional Paternity Leave that your partner could be eligible for can be influenced by your own return to work.

Dads who take time off because their partner is having a baby or adopting a child could be eligible for paid Ordinary Paternity Leave. They may also be eligible for up to 26 weeks Additional Paternity Leave, but only if the mother/co-adopter returns to work.

Ordinary Paternity Leave is for either 1 or 2 weeks (even if the partner has a multiple birth). Leave can’t start before the baby is born and must end within 56 days of the birth (the employer must be given 28 days notice of change to the start date). Leave must be taken in one go, and a week consists of regular working days. For example, if the Dad only works on Mondays and Tuesdays then a week is 2 days. To qualify for Ordinary Paternity Leave he must be an employee, have worked for his employer continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (known as the qualifying week) and must give the correct notice.

Additional Paternity Leave depends on how much unused maternity leave or adoption leave the partner has. The employer must confirm the Dad’s start and end dates when the leave is claimed. Leave can start 20 weeks after the birth, adoption, or in the case of overseas adoptions, the child’s arrival in the UK, if the partner has returned to work. It must stop on the child’s 1st birthday, or, if adopting, within 1 year of the date that the child started living with its adoptive parents.


For further details on paternity leave & pay, with full eligibility criteria visit https://www.gov.uk/paternity-pay-leave

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We’ve previously talked about maternity leave in this column, but how paternity leave works is also of interest to the Professional Mum, not least because the Additional Paternity Leave that your partner could be eligible for can be influenced by your own return to work.

Dads who take time off because their partner is having a baby or adopting a child could be eligible for paid Ordinary Paternity Leave. They may also be eligible for up to 26 weeks Additional Paternity Leave, but only if the mother/co-adopter returns to work.

Ordinary Paternity Leave is for either 1 or 2 weeks (even if the partner has a multiple birth). Leave can’t start before the baby is born and must end within 56 days of the birth (the employer must be given 28 days notice of change to the start date). Leave must be taken in one go, and a week consists of regular working days. For example, if the Dad only works on Mondays and Tuesdays then a week is 2 days. To qualify for Ordinary Paternity Leave he must be an employee, have worked for his employer continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (known as the qualifying week) and must give the correct notice.

Additional Paternity Leave depends on how much unused maternity leave or adoption leave the partner has. The employer must confirm the Dad’s start and end dates when the leave is claimed. Leave can start 20 weeks after the birth, adoption, or in the case of overseas adoptions, the child’s arrival in the UK, if the partner has returned to work. It must stop on the child’s 1st birthday, or, if adopting, within 1 year of the date that the child started living with its adoptive parents.


For further details on paternity leave & pay, with full eligibility criteria visit https://www.gov.uk/paternity-pay-leave

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The Professional Mum - Apprenticeships

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As a parent you want your child to get the best possible start in their career. There are many options available to young people after they leave school and it may be worth them considering an apprenticeship as a key route into securing a job and progressing into a successful career.

Apprenticeships are work-based programmes that combine practical training with study. This allows individuals to earn while they learn, whilst gaining nationally recognised qualifications. Most of the training is delivered in the work place, with an element of 'off the job' training which usually takes place with a training provider or at a college.

If your child lives in England, is over 16 and not in full time education they can apply. Apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 16. There are different entry requirements depending on the sector and job. Apprentices need to be committed, motivated, enthusiastic and reliable, with a 'can-do' attitude.

The benefits of being an apprentice include earning a salary, training in the skills employers want, excellent progression opportunities, whether looking to study further or climb the ranks within the workplace, better long term salary prospects and learning at a pace suited to the individual with the support of a mentor. Apprentices have the opportunity to experience new and different challenges, and learn to work better and more effectively.

Apprenticeships last for a minimum of one year, however many can take longer, especially if they are at a higher level or in a certain sectors such as engineering. Employers all over the country recognise and value Apprenticeships as they show that participants have been trained in the skills they need.

As a parent you will influence any potential apprentice. For further information about Apprenticeships and why one could be right for your child visit:

www.apprenticeships.gov.uk

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The Professional Mum - Apprenticeships

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As a parent you want your child to get the best possible start in their career. There are many options available to young people after they leave school and it may be worth them considering an apprenticeship as a key route into securing a job and progressing into a successful career.

Apprenticeships are work-based programmes that combine practical training with study. This allows individuals to earn while they learn, whilst gaining nationally recognised qualifications. Most of the training is delivered in the work place, with an element of 'off the job' training which usually takes place with a training provider or at a college.

If your child lives in England, is over 16 and not in full time education they can apply. Apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 16. There are different entry requirements depending on the sector and job. Apprentices need to be committed, motivated, enthusiastic and reliable, with a 'can-do' attitude.

The benefits of being an apprentice include earning a salary, training in the skills employers want, excellent progression opportunities, whether looking to study further or climb the ranks within the workplace, better long term salary prospects and learning at a pace suited to the individual with the support of a mentor. Apprentices have the opportunity to experience new and different challenges, and learn to work better and more effectively.

Apprenticeships last for a minimum of one year, however many can take longer, especially if they are at a higher level or in a certain sectors such as engineering. Employers all over the country recognise and value Apprenticeships as they show that participants have been trained in the skills they need.

As a parent you will influence any potential apprentice. For further information about Apprenticeships and why one could be right for your child visit:

www.apprenticeships.gov.uk

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Maternity Leave - The Facts

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Employees Four Key Pregnancy Rights Spring is on the way and thoughts turn to new beginnings! don't wait until you are on Maternity leave, if you are considering starting or extending your family it's worth having an idea about some of the legislation surrounding pregnant employees. Otherwise, you may have a colleague or team member who is expecting.Pregnant employees have 4 key rights: paid time off for antenatal care, maternity leave, maternity pay and protection against unfair treatment, discrimination or...

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Maternity Leave - The Facts

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Employees Four Key Pregnancy Rights

Spring is on the way and thoughts turn to new beginnings! don't wait until you are on Maternity leave, if you are considering starting or extending your family it's worth having an idea about some of the legislation surrounding pregnant employees. Otherwise, you may have a colleague or team member who is expecting.

Pregnant employees have 4 key rights: paid time off for antenatal care, maternity leave, maternity pay and protection against unfair treatment, discrimination or dismissal. Antenatal care isn't just medical appointments. Antenatal or parenting classes which have been recommended by a doctor or midwife are also included.

Employers can't change a pregnant employee's contract terms and conditions without agreement. If they do, they are in breach of contract. Maternity leave and statutory maternity pay will start automatically if an employee is away from work for a pregnancy-related illness during the 4 weeks before the baby is due. This is regardless of what has been agreed before. If you aren't taking statutory maternity leave, you must take 2 weeks off after the baby is born. This is extended to 4 weeks if you work in a factory.

You must tell your employer about the pregnancy at least 15 weeks before the start of the week when the baby is due. If this isn't possible (eg. if you didn't know that you were pregnant) you must advise your employer as soon as possible. You must also tell your employer when you want to start your statutory maternity pay.

For full details go to: www.gov.uk/working-when-pregnant-your-rights

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Five a Day for Children

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Do kids need 5 A day? Yes, Children need five portions of fruit and veg each day, just like adults.Ensuring good nutrition is a key part of parenting. Fruit and vegetables are a good source of the nutrients that children need for a healthy, balanced diet.Current recommendations are that children eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Sadly, research shows that on average children in England eat only two portions, with many eating fewer. The School...

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Five a Day for Children

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Do kids need 5 A day?

Yes, Children need five portions of fruit and veg each day, just like adults.

Ensuring good nutrition is a key part of parenting. Fruit and vegetables are a good source of the nutrients that children need for a healthy, balanced diet.

Current recommendations are that children eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Sadly, research shows that on average children in England eat only two portions, with many eating fewer.

The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme (SFVS)

The SFVS is a scheme designed to help children achieve 5 A DAY. Children aged four to six who attend a fully state-funded infant, primary or special school are entitled to receive a free piece of fruit or vegetable each school day.

As well as providing one of their 5 A DAY, the scheme also helps to increase awareness of the importance of eating fruit and vegetables. In addition, this encourages children to adopt healthy eating habits which they will keep throughout life.

Teachers find that distributing the fruit in class groups helps to encourage a sharing, calm, social time.generally, the fruit and vegetables are delivered to schools three times a week to ensure that they are always fresh. All the fruit and vegetables must be washed. Then, they are usually handed out just before the mid-morning break in class groups.

Apart from the SFVS, your child has other opportunities through the school day to add to their 5 A DAY total. All schools that provide meals for pupils must also include at least one portion of fruit and one portion of vegetables or salad for each pupil, every day. Schools are encouraged to create lunch menus which promote in-season fruit and vegetables to pupils as part of their food.education.

Fresh fruit and vegetable options must be provided at all school food outlets. As well as lunch, these include: breakfast club, tuck shops at mid-morning break and lunch, and in vending machines.

for more information visit: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/5ADAY/Pages/schoolscheme.aspx

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Help With Childcare Costs

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Do childcare costs stop you from working? For professional parents it can sometimes feel frustrating that a significant proportion of their income contributes to the cost of their childcare. Sometimes this means that returning to work is simply not viable. Here we outline 2 of the means that the government offers in helping with childcare costs.Free Early Education is one means of support. Children aged three and four are entitled to 15 hours of free early education each week for...

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Help With Childcare Costs

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Do childcare costs stop you from working?

For professional parents it can sometimes feel frustrating that a significant proportion of their income contributes to the cost of their childcare. Sometimes this means that returning to work is simply not viable. Here we outline 2 of the means that the government offers in helping with childcare costs.

Free Early Education is one means of support. Children aged three and four are entitled to 15 hours of free early education each week for 38 weeks of the year. Children become eligible from 1 September, 1 January or 1 April following their 3rd birthday. This Free Early Education can be at nursery schools, children's centres, day nurseries, playgroups and pre-schools, with childminders or at Sure Start Children's Centres. Providers of Early Education? are regulated and inspected by Ofsted.

If you work and pay for childcare you may be able to get extra tax credits to help with the costs. In order to qualify, single parents must work 16 hours or more a week. If you're in a couple you must both work 16 hours a week or more (there are exceptions to this, please check the website below for full details). These tax credits are well worth investigating: you could get up to 70% of the childcare costs that you are claiming for. Childcare providers must be registered or approved (the carer can confirm this). These can include care provided at home, in school or another place by a childminder, playscheme, nursery or club etc.

For full details have a look at: www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs.

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Work Life Balance

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Achieving a good work life balance is the holy grail of parenthood. The aim of this column is to provide advice and tips to busy professional parents. Working parents have endless new responsibilities and pressures. However, parenthood also brings a wealth of new skills and life experiences from which to draw and parents deserve to be respected and praised for their loyalty to their employers, their contributions to the organisations that they work for and to society in general! Do...

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Work Life Balance

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Achieving a good work life balance is the holy grail of parenthood. The aim of this column is to provide advice and tips to busy professional parents. Working parents have endless new responsibilities and pressures. However, parenthood also brings a wealth of new skills and life experiences from which to draw and parents deserve to be respected and praised for their loyalty to their employers, their contributions to the organisations that they work for and to society in general!

Do you need time off?

 

Do you feel that you need to take some time off work to settle your under-five into new childcare arrangements? Find out if you are entitled to Parental Leave. Eligible employees can take unpaid parental leave to look after their child's welfare. The child must be under 5 (and can be up to 18 in special circumstances). There are factors which affect eligibility and a 21 days notice period must be given before the intended start date of parental leave. The good news is that your employment rights are protected during parental leave.

Another way of achieving a better work life balance may be "making a statutory application" to work flexibly.

Flexible working can mean working certain hours or working from home. If you care for someone (a child or an adult) you have the legal right to ask for flexible working. This does not mean that your employer has to agree to the request. Examples of flexible working include job-sharing, working from home, part-time hours, compressed hours, flexitime, annualised hours or staggered hours. Statutory applications must be submitted in writing and there are specific elements that you must include (visit www.gov.uk/flexible-working for full details). Your employer should request a meeting to discuss your application, and upon agreement will issue a new contract.

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