As businesses reopen their doors and remote employees return to the workplace, concerns have been raised regarding how childcare will be handled during the fall months if and when schools reopen.
Even before the pandemic hit, many parents struggled to balance family and work life. BCG surveyed a large group of working parents in 5 countries (US, UK, France, Germany, & Italy) and provided some noteworthy findings:
- 60% of those surveyed have no outside help in caring for and educating their children, and another 10% have less help now than before the pandemic.
- Parents now spend an additional average of 27 hours each week on household chores, childcare, and education (nearly the equivalent of a second job) on top of their household responsibilities before the crisis.
- 50% of those surveyed feel that their performance at work has decreased as a result of managing these additional responsibilities
Once schools do reopen and children return to campus on a modified basis, working parents who are back in the office may find even more difficulty providing childcare for their children than before the pandemic. This is because many school districts have released reopening plans that require students to attend remotely for a portion of the school week. This may cause difficulties for parents of younger children who rely on the school system as a means of childcare while they are at work.
Ways Employers Can Support Employees with Children
First, employers need to be flexible and accommodating. During this difficult time, companies should be considerate of the strain the pandemic has put on employees, especially those who are parents. Employers should communicate with their employees to discuss how the future may impact their work and home lives and ask how they can be accommodating in providing these workers with the tools and resources needed to feel supported. If possible, companies should consider adopting a temporary work model that caters to these employees’ schedules. This may be by offering extended remote work or flexible work hours.
If possible, employers can also consider offering these caregivers fully paid, partially paid, or unpaid leave with benefits, or provide the option of part-time work on a reduced salary. In considering such options, employers should be sure to seek legal advice and counsel regarding the federal and state laws that may provide protections to working parents.
Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal and Media Commentator
Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, mediator, arbitrator, and workplace/Title IX investigator in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues.
Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, ABC, CBS, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.
Angela also is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Judicate West, a California company that represents the gold standard in dispute resolution. She also owns her own law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in workplace and Title IX discrimination, harassment, and sexual assault investigations.
This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.