As summer winds down and schools are back in session, working parents are facing a lot of stress and difficulty surrounding new methods of schooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although a few schools are holding in-person classes, many K-12 schools are offering completely virtual classes or taking a hybrid learning approach to the 2020-2021 school year, which presents new challenges to the many parents who rely on school to provide childcare as well as education.
As an employer, it’s important to be aware of the extra mental and emotional stress that your employees who are parents may be experiencing. If possible, try to accommodate working parents so they can care for their families and be productive at work. Working parents are scrambling to find babysitters, locate homeschool teachers, set up daycare, and figure out how to be present with their kids while still maintaining their income this fall.
To help you support working parents at your business, our Exodus HR Specialists have highlighted several ways of accommodating working parents during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Allow flexibility.
Giving your employees the opportunity to work entirely remotely, partially remotely, or even just more flexibility with their work hours can be huge for parents who also need to look after their kids during this school year. If you are able to, empower your employees to make the decision to work from home or the office. This can greatly ease their mental and emotional stress, especially for parents as they work to balance home and work life during this time.
2. Offer your employees a tech budget.
If your employees who are working from home don’t have the proper equipment to do so, don’t let that money come out of their pockets. Consider offering parents working remotely a tech budget to purchase the equipment necessary to excel at their job outside of an office environment. By providing a tech budget, working from home won’t be a financial burden.
3. Have a plan in case an employee’s child contracts COVID-19.
Even if your employees’ children are attending school on-site, having a plan in place in the event that one of their children contracts COVID-19 will give working parents peace of mind. A quarantined, sick child needs proper supervision, and empowering your employee parents to work from home or take paid or unpaid leave to care for their children at a moment’s notice is essential. Additionally, having a plan on abruptly transitioning an employee to work from home can help ensure that you don’t lose an employee’s work in the interim while they step out of the office for a few weeks.
4. Inform your employees about legal discriminations.
If you run a small business under 500 employees and some parents haven’t already taken advantage of paid leave due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they may be eligible for up to 12 paid weeks off to care for their children under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). However, this only applies if schools have made distance-learning mandatory and not if parents have opted for it themselves. As an employer, you have the discretion to grant your working parents intermittent leave if their children are in a hybrid learning situation, but it may not be required. Please consult your Exodus HR Specialist for more information on this.
At Exodus HR Group, we help you optimize your business by providing custom human resource solutions for you to support your employees – parents and childless workers alike. Working parents are under a lot of stress due to the precarious school scenarios this fall, but we’re confident that there are ways of accommodating working parents that are in the best interest of your business and their families. Give us a call at (855) 931-3865 to learn more about how we can help you support your employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.