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Employers inundated with leave requests for Back-to-School Monday

Parents could be planning boozy blowouts after months of home schooling.

Employers have reported a spike in last-minute annual leave requests for next Monday - and it seems exhausted parents are behind the increase.

The Government has announced that all schools will be fully reopened as of Monday (8th March), meaning many parents will be getting their first break from home schooling in months - and some, it seems, are planning to celebrate in style, booking an extra day off work to get rip-roaring drunk.

Protecting.co.uk, a health and safety expert, polled 1,500 parents to find out whether they were planning to celebrate the end of home schooling - and over a third said they definitely were.

Are you planning to have a drink to celebrate the end of home schooling?

Yes - 35%

No - 40%

I wasn’t, but now I think it’s a good idea - 25%

Others seemed inspired by the idea, planning their own farewell to worksheets and supervising Zoom calls. Some are even planning to make a full day of it to mark the momentous occasion - perhaps leading to the increase in annual leave requests.

“My husband is taking the girls to school on Monday - being day drunk at the school gates wouldn’t be a good look!” laughs Ellie, 34. “So I’m going to have a lie-in, then I’m going to meet my friend for a dog walk and a bottle of wine in the local park. It’s technically in the rules as it’s exercising!”

Brett, 37, agreed. “Honestly, after the last year, I feel like I deserve it. There are a few bottles already in the fridge for a socially-distant walk with a mate and I’m going to really enjoy getting to relax for the day without anyone asking me how to unmute a Zoom call.”

While the Government rules for the current lockdown do allow you to meet one other person from a different household for exercise, it also states that 'you cannot leave home for recreational or leisure purposes (such as for a picnic or a social meeting)’ - putting parents’ boozy plans at risk of a £200 fine.

Protecting.co.uk has also warned that, while a celebratory glass of wine is perfectly safe, alcohol consumption has been rising during lockdown, with a quarter of UK adults reporting drinking more since the start of the pandemic.

Spokesperson Anna Edwards for protecting.co.uk cautioned: “We’ve no doubt parents will want to celebrate making it through the tough homes schooling period in one piece, and hopefully within the existing lockdown rules. But binge drinking carries many risks, especially combined with an increased alcohol intake overall, so we would warn parents to be aware of how much they’re quaffing - for men, 5 drinks over 2 hours (and 4 for women) is considered binge drinking.”

Those planning a post-home school tipple without the health risks could try alternating between alcoholic drinks and water, spacing their drinks out over a longer period, and opting for lower-alcohol choices like beer or cider over spirits.

Protecting.co.uk has urged those who are concerned about their alcohol intake to contact their GP or call DrinkAware on 0300 123 1110.

Edwards continued: “It’s been a very trying twelve months for lots of people, and especially parents, who’ve had to juggle work, money worries, the isolation of lockdown, and homes schooling their children. We understand the desire to mark a positive step out of this period with a celebratory drink, and we raise a glass to all the parents out there ourselves! But, for those planning to take Monday to have a blowout, we urge you to do so safely - which should help you avoid a hangover during Tuesday’s Teams meetings, too!”

protecting.co.uk

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