Working mothers regularly send children to school sick – because they don’t feel able to take time off looking after them, it emerged yesterday.

Researchers found four out of ten employed mums have sent their child to school when he or she wasn’t feeling well because they felt unable to take the day off.

Worryingly, the study also found around one in six mothers have been made to feel ‘guilty’ by their boss after taking time off to look after a poorly child.And incredibly one of ten of the 2,000 working mums polled said they had received a written warning. The stats emerged following a study carried out by supplement brand Haliborange.

Yesterday, spokeswoman Susanne Wright said: ‘It is only natural that children will fall ill but it seems the responsibility largely falls on Mum to take the time off work to care for them.

‘Taking extra days off in term time can be a real struggle especially in the current economic climate when people may be worried about their job security.’The back to school season is often the time of year when children are more likely to come down with something, so taking steps to help maintain your child’s immune system may help prevent unnecessary time off from work or school for all the family.’

The report also revealed 27 per cent of the working mums polled said they were worried they would lose their job if they took too much time off to care for their kids.

And 34 per cent said they forfeited their pay of they did take a day off. It also emerged one in five mums said they felt guilty handing work over to colleagues when their child falls ill during a shift.


The study also revealed mums feel they are ‘expected’ to take time off, rather than dad staying at home.

Nearly a quarter of mothers said they worried about their work load when they suddenly have to drop everything to collect a sick child from school.

And 19 per cent reckon their work mates moan about them behind their backs when they have to dash off.

A staggering 80 per cent of mothers who took part in the study said people don’t understand how hard it is to juggle things when a child falls ill.

And 23 per cent of mums said they would rather send their sick child to school and receive a phone call to collect them than automatically take the day off.

Despite this, 86 per cent of the females polled said children need their mother around when they are ill more than any other person.

It also emerged the typical child is ill three times a year, taking two and half days off for each bout of sickness, meaning an average mother needs to take an extra 7.5 days off work per year.

Susanne Wright added: ‘Fortunately most of the ailments that children suffer from are day to day conditions which aren’t anything too serious and in most cases a trip to the doctor and a day or two off school will sort the problem.

‘At times when their immune system might take a knock, such as when they head back to school, mothers may want to give their child a multivitamin for extra protection.’

Catching bugs from other school kids was the main reason for children falling ill, followed by being ‘run down’.

Nearly three quarters of mums feed their child a healthy diet to ensure they stay well and 64 per cent of mums swear by a good nights’ sleep while 29 per cent rely on vitamins to boost their immune system.

Nutritionist Dr Emma Derbyshire said: ‘As the winter months approach it is the time of year when people are more susceptible to catching coughs and colds.

‘Children can be especially vulnerable so maintaining a healthy immune system is particularly important.

‘For parents who may have children who are fussy eaters, they may want to consider a multivitamin supplement to ensure they are getting all the vitamins and minerals they need to stay fit and well.’