With schools continuing to navigate shutdowns and many kids learning remotely at home, it’s a really difficult time for working parents. As an employer, you can take some steps to ease the burden on your employees with kids at home. Here are four ways that employers can support the working parents on their payroll:
Examine your existing policies.
First, take a look at your existing workplace policies and ask yourself an important question: are they supportive enough for families, especially parents of young children? If you were in their position, would their job be forgiving enough to allow them to manage work and childcare at the same time? Pay special attention to vulnerable groups: temporary workers, migrant workers, pregnant or nursing workers, workers with disabilities, or workers without access to paid sick leave, for example.
Point parents toward accessible and affordable options.
Schools and childcare centers often remain closed in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This leaves working parents with little or no options for safe childcare. Help your employees with this. Set up a referral system that points working parents toward safe, effective, and accessible options. Do some research to find out how your company can help working parents with their childcare needs.
Allow for flexible schedules.
Allowing for a flexible working schedule is one of the simplest and most effective ways that employers can support working parents. For some parents, having that extra hour in the morning to get their child to daycare, or to drop them off at their grandparents’ house, makes all the difference in the world. Consider implementing flexible start and end times, remote work and/or telework, modified or hybrid work schedules, and long-term leave options for those caring for sick children or elderly parents.
Help working parents cope with stress.
Parents who are already stressed out thanks to COVID-19 and their limited childcare options don’t need more stress when they come to work. Support working parents by giving them options to cope with stress. Ensure that employees have access to psychosocial services, and provide them with tools to navigate this unprecedented time to the best of their ability.
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