More than three in five (61%) women who are working parents expressed their worries about the mental health of their children with more than two fifths (45%) stating they were concerned about how their education is being affected.
The news was reported by Unison based on responses from nearly 47,000 women including teaching assistants, nurses, council workers and police staff.
The report Women Working Through the Pandemic includes the experiences of those providing a wide range of essential services in the UK including education, health, social care and policing, either in their usual workplace (57%) or from home (32%).
The data survey revealed the “desperate situations” key workers are facing and why they need proper time off and a pay rise.
The union said it is calling on the government to ensure employers offer staff more flexibility over when they work and not to take long hours for “granted”, fund childcare properly so it’s “affordable and accessible” for key workers and maintain the £20 increase to the universal credit allowance.
The results showed the huge strain of working during the Covid crisis with nearly two thirds (65%) not sleeping well, more than half (51%) not taking regular breaks and a significant number (57%) feeling stressed most of the time.
The vast majority (93%) miss catching up with close friends in person, and as many as 50% state they do not have time to reflect and destress, especially those with children or looking after loved ones at home (62%).
More than a third (37%) said they were experiencing loneliness with the percentage rising to (57%) among those living on their own.
Of the nearly 25,000 people who took part in the survey, almost half (47%) earn £18,000 a year or less, and a third (34%) have an annual salary of £15,000 or less.
More than two fifths (45%) have seen their spending increase – especially on energy, food, technology, transport and housing. Reasons include having children off school all the time, a partner working from home or being furloughed.
Christina McAnea, general secretary, Unison, said: “Public services would have come to a standstill without the vital jobs done by women in our schools, hospitals, police forces and local councils. Those on low wages are the ones shouldering these burdens most of all.
“All women deserve better and this country’s economic recovery depends on them. But their mental and physical health is at stake. The government needs to step up by providing the funding and support to make their working lives easier.”