Nearly three-quarters of working parents plan to take a separate summer break from their partner to allow for looking after their children during the school holidays.
The majority of parents are faced with a quandry - with both wage-earners trying to bring in enough household income, but being unable to enjoy a traditional family break.
The survey of 2,000 parents with school-age children for Nationwide Savings found that 73 per cent of parents had to stagger their leave from work with their partner to cover childcare over the summer, leaving less time for the whole family to spend together.
More than four-fifths of working parents said they had difficulty booking off the time they need for an annual break, with nearly two-thirds having to book holidays at least three months in advance.
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Also, one in four parents surveyed admitted to having “played hooky”, telling a school their child was ill or some other excuse so that the family could holiday together during term time, when cheaper deals were available.
One in five of those questioned said that they would usually book their holidays as soon as the work calendar started so that childcare could be covered at difficult times such as Christmas and summer holidays. Almost half of parents felt guilty about the effect on their work colleagues without children.
Nationwide Savings also surveyed 2,000 working age people who do not have children. More than a quarter of people felt workplace etiquette dictated that they should not book leave during those school holiday periods when their colleagues with children would want to take time off.