Half of parents risk their financial security due to lack of protection


  • More than half (52%) of all UK parents have no form of financial protection in place if work absence is required to care of their children 
  • Among this group, 56% are self-employed and 39% are on zero-hour contracts
  • One in five (20%) are unaware that financial policies to help working parents even exist 


Over half (52%) of all working parents in the UK have no form of financial protection policy in place should they have to take time off work to care for their child if they were unwell or had an accident, according to new research from protection and employee benefits provider, MetLife UK

Among those without protection, well over half (56%) are self-employed, almost two in three (65%) work part-time and nearly two in five (39%) are employed on zero-hour contracts. Should parents have to take time off due to childcare needs; this group of parents in particular face the highest financial risk by having no formal plan to fall back on in an emergency. 

Looking at the perception and uptake of financial protection policies among the UK’s working parents, the research found that the main deterrents of having any financial protection in place included affordability concerns (44%), a lack of awareness of these type of products (20%), and general disinterest in taking out insurance policies (9%). 

However, while most working parents are without formal protection to cover their pay in the event they need to take time off work or away from their business to care for their poorly or injured child, almost half (48%) do have some form of protection in place. The top five products include Life Insurance (51%), Health Insurance (36%), Critical Illness Cover (25%), Income Protection (21%) and Mortgage Payment Cover Protection (20%). 

MetLife's research, which examines the current perception and uptake of financial protection policies amongst working parents, follows on from the launch of the first of its kind product, ChildShield, which supports families should their child(ren) have an accident or become seriously ill.

From just £6 per month, ChildShield provides financial protection which pays out cash should parents need it – for situations such as having to take time off work to care for their child(ren) – removing some of the stress and worry parents face when their child is ill or has an accident. And because we never stop caring for our children, ChildShield covers all children in the family up to 23 years old – including stepchildren and children who no longer live within the same household. Policy holders and their families will also get access to the virtual GP appointment service (GP24). Providing families with fast and direct access to medical experts – including unlimited consultations with UK-based remote GPs available to book any time, day, or night, 365 days a year.

Rich Horner, Head of Individual Protection at MetLife UK commented: 

“While the cohort of working parents with financial protection in place for themselves is promising, many of these policies won’t cover them financially in the event of needing to take time off work or away from their business to care for a child. And for many, particularly those who must take the time off unpaid, self-employed workers, or those on zero-hour contracts, this could have a severe financial impact. At MetLife, we’re keen to raise the awareness and accessibility of these contemporary products to ensure parents are taking the correct cover to support their needs. 

Horner concludes: “We’re extremely excited this innovative product is available to all advisers to help grow their businesses and protect their customers. In 2023 we paid over 6,200 claims for children on our existing products, so the need is clear. ChildShield remains the only stand-alone child protection product and is designed with both financial advisers and customers in mind, it complements the traditional advice process, filling a gaping protection hole due to its affordability and it being a non-underwritten product – one that’s truly suited to all families.”

The research was conducted by Censuswide with 3003 employed/ self employed parents (18+) with a child/children aged 22 and under between 26.04.2024 - 30.04.2024. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.