Many parents choose self-employment because of ‘out-of-date’ school hours

(2 minutes to read)

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According to latest figures, many parents take on the self-employment route in order to fit work around school hours.

The Good Life Report, compiled by AXA Business Insurance, identified ‘the school runner’ contractor and business as being a rising force in Britain’s boom in self-employment.

Interestingly, one in five new businesses in the UK are started by parents whose primary motivation is to fit their work hours to school hours. Typically working five to six hours per day, sandwiched between the two school runs, these parents make an average of £750 per month in take-home pay. While this income is relatively low, for most it means eliminating childcare fees.

Gareth Howell, Managing Director at AXA Business Insurance, commented, “The number of families where both parents work has increased by a third in the past 20 years. While family economics change, schools continue to follow a schedule that evolved over a century ago”

“Even though rights to flexible hours have strengthened in recent years, most jobs advertised today still follow a strict 9-5 model, and schools are not compromising either. Self-employment is one solution to this contradiction at the heart of many families today.”

Six in ten of those who had made the switch to self-employment said they felt it had helped to improve their mental wellbeing. Three in ten believed the nature of the stress had just changed rather than reduced, while just one in ten ‘school-runners’ said self-employment had led to a deterioration in their mental health.

Almost half of school-runners also noted a common health benefit – their days involved more physical activity and less desk-time. For example, school-runner entrepreneurs spend an average of 30% of their day punctuated by physical exertion as they combine household, parenting and work. For comparison, a full-time office worker typically spends just 15% of a working day doing physical activity.

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