Coronavirus Continues to Complicate Child Care
Who’s watching your workers’ kids?
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Americans are focused on a return to normal, which remains elusive. Many states are reopening their businesses while others are closing facilities again prompted by a surge in COVID-19 cases. Some workers are returning to their offices while others have worked throughout the pandemic. One factor that has been consistent throughout the pandemic is the worry of who will watch workers’ children.
When schools let out in spring, most working parents thought their children would return to their classrooms before school ended for the summer. When that didn’t happen, and then many summer camps were canceled or delayed, parents began to realize this worry would go on for the unforeseeable future. Currently, school districts across the country are determining whether students can return full-time in the fall or if they will have to continue remote learning or piece together a combination of in-school and at-home learning.
In March, U.S. Congress passed a paid leave program allowing working parents two weeks off to care for their children at full pay, or 12 weeks at two-thirds pay. However, the 12 weeks have since ended and not all workers were eligible to participate. Some employers wrongfully denied their employees this leave and were forced to provide back pay by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Working parents have been forced to cobble together child-care arrangements, from enlisting the help of relatives and friends willing to break quarantine to working from home the best they can amid distractions from their kids. However, not all workers are able to work from home, so they have relied on daycare centers set up for essential workers or elected to stay home and lose pay.
How are your workers managing childcare and does your company offer flexible work schedules to assist them?