Essex Working Parents Take Control of the Work-life Balance

Parenting stories are hugely prominent in the news of late. Whether it’s talk of the approach of Mothering Sunday (14th March), proposed changes in paternal working rights, or recent research into the long-term cost of childcare, the words on everyone’s lips this week are ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’. Business Link in the East of England’s latest survey celebrates the important role Essex’s working parents play in the county.

The survey revealed that all of the Essex respondents are working parents, with either young children at home or those who have flown the nest, and of these parents, three quarters said they started their business after having children, with a quarter admitting their children were the inspiration behind it. And it’s the Mums who are standing out, with over 70% of respondents combining motherhood and their entrepreneur ambitions.

“It allows me to have control over my work-life balance. I am a single parent and I no longer feel stressed if the children are off school for any reason like snow or illness. I no longer fret about ensuring I am back on time from lunch. … I am in control.” An Essex parent’s view on being self-employed

The results also highlighted that combining having a family and running a business is realistic, as two thirds of respondents with children work full-time.  For those looking at the options, over half of respondents work from home, whilst the most popular third-party childcare were revealed as asking a family member for help or using a child minder or nanny.

Pat Smith, Chief Executive of Business Link in the East of England, said, “The figures uncovered by our survey certainly make clearer the potential that starting a business and being self-employed can hold for working parents in the region. Whether you are looking at your working arrangements, are interested in starting a business or want to look into rights as a working parent or as an employer, Business Link is on hand to provide the advice and support you need.”

The survey did, however, reveal one area that remains unclear: a tenuous link between employers and familiarity with parental rights. Only a fifth of respondents in the region admitted to regularly reviewing their maternity/paternity packages. The importance of changing paternity laws (coming into effect for fathers of children born on or after 3rd April 2011) for Essex’s businesses was also highlighted, with more than 80% of businesses surveyed enacting statutory maternity and paternity packages.

Whether you are inspired to discuss the flexible options starting your own business can provide, or want to research the employment laws for parents, your local Business Link is the place to go for free, professional and impartial advice. For information on starting, planning, or growing a business, visit or call 08457 17 16 15.

About Business Link in the East of England:

  • Business Link… the place to go for business support
  • Business Link provides information, practical advice and support to help people to start, run or grow their businesses
  • Our clients fall in to two main categories:
    • Those running or working in established small and medium sized businesses
    • Those who want to start their own business
  • Both client groups can access independent, impartial and, in most instances, free help and support from Business Link in the form of:
    • Free one-to-one help from an experienced Business Adviser (established businesses) or Enterprise Awareness Manager (start-ups)
    • Workshops and briefings on a range of business subjects such as business planning, sales and marketing, legislation, developing people
    • Telephone and online support through our Regional Information and Intelligence centre
  • Business Link East works with businesses and entrepreneurs in the 6 counties in the East of England: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk
  • Business Link is a government initiative to promote enterprise, funded in the East of England by the East of England Development Agency
  • Tel: 08457 17 16 15
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website:

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