England

Parents get time off for children's first day of school

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Media captionOlivia's mum was given half a day off to see her to school for the first time

The first day of school is daunting enough for children, without not having a parent with them at the gates. An increasing number of companies are now giving workers an extra day of paid leave to make sure they don't miss this important milestone. BBC News spoke to two parents about its impact.

'The most important days in any family's life'

Scott Pinner said it was "absolutely fantastic" to be able to walk his daughter Jessica to her first day at school in Solihull, West Midlands, on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old works for the repair firm Timpson which, since last year, has let parents have the day off if their child is attending primary or pre-school for the first time.

Image copyright Scott Pinner
Image caption Scott Pinner took his daughter Jessica to school after being given the day off

"It was nice to spend the day getting her ready in the morning and walking her to school," he said.

"It was absolutely fantastic and my wife has just had a baby so it really did help."

Chief executive James Timpson said 150 employees had used the extra day off.

"Starting school is of the most important days in any families life," he said.

"Having an extra day off be there at the school gates is a great benefit every business should have in place."

'It made such a difference on Harlan's first day'

Image copyright Karl Hayward
Image caption Karl Hayward was able to drop his daughter Lexi and son Harlan off together

Karl Hayward used the day off to take his five-year-old son Harlan to his new school in Norwich on Thursday.

His employer, the insurance company Aviva, gives staff an extra half day off to take their child to school or pick them up on their first day.

"It made such a difference on Harlan's first day, knowing that we didn't have to rush off to work immediately," he said.

"We had got everything ready the night before but there's always the chance of that last-minute panic, if someone's shoes aren't where you left them or a bag has mysteriously gone missing."

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Mr Hayward's wife also works for Aviva and they were both able to make use of the leave, which he says "made it even more special".

"Harlan is also at the same school as his sister Lexi now, so it was lovely to drop them off together and make sure they were settled in," he added.

Aviva's chief people officer Caroline Prendergast said the firm wanted to help employees on the "nerve-wracking day for both children and their parents".

"We want to allow families to experience that all-important first day in a stress-free way and this is a small thing we can do for parents, which can make a big difference to them."

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