Working Parents Challenges During COVID-19

Topics: Small Business

Summary: Working parents face many challenges throughout the day from managing working remotely to helping their children with online schooling. Learn solutions employers can implement to help working parents as they navigate through the changes that came along with COVID-19.

When COVID-19 hit during the spring, many companies required employees to start working remotely to help flatten the curve. Across the country, schools and daycares also closed down, with some still closed for the foreseeable future. Working parents took on the additional role of teachers as their kids logged into remote learning programs. The abrupt changes have brought many challenges to parents, including:
  • Juggling work and children’s online learning schedules
  • Worrying about interruptions during work meetings
  • Growing anxiety about the pandemic
  • Feeling overwhelmed, which can develop into employee burnout

Women have been hit particularly hard during the pandemic. Some left the workforce altogether to care for their children or reduced their hours, while others were furloughed or laid off. These situations add additional stress for working families as they navigate the changes.

How Employers are Helping Working Parents

There’s been a number of creative solutions employers have used to try and help working parents. Some large technology companies, such as Amazon and Nvidia, are offering to cover the costs of at-home childcare or teaching options through services such as or for their working parent employees. Other companies are providing on-site group childcare so parents can get back to work.

Matt Zender, SVP of Workers’ Compensation at AmTrust Financial, explains that businesses should make sure their insurance is up-to-date when hiring staff to watch employees’ children, including general liability and workers’ compensation policies.

As many schools are going fully online or starting in a hybrid model for the beginning of the school year, parents who have been working from home will continue to be confronted with helping educate their children while also working. However, there are workplace solutions that can help ease the burden for working parents. Experts suggest flexibility, understanding and investing time in working parents.

Understand the Laws Protecting Families During COVID-19

Employers who are subject to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA) need to understand the law as they create a plan for employees who are working parents. The FFRCA allows workers to a total of 12 weeks of partially paid leave if their children’s daycare or school has closed due to COVID-19. However, it only applies to workers at private companies with fewer than 500 employees and certain public sector employers. Other state and local jurisdictions have also passed their own COVID-19 specific leave laws that may apply to employers not covered by FFCRA.

Create a Work from Home Policy for All Employees

In the spring, as governors shut down their states to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, businesses rushed to put together work from home policies. These policies, which contain specific guidelines to ensure that workers understand what is required of them when they work remotely, include:
  • Having the proper technology
  • Using a secure connection
  • Creating a dedicated workspace
  • Setting a clear expectation of communications, work schedules and processes
  • Trusting your employees

Allow Flexible Working Hours

A working parent’s home schedule might not conform to the usual 9-5 workday. If there are younger children in the house, parents have to adjust their work time according to their children’s daily schedules. Managers should be flexible in their workday schedule to allow for working parents to care for their children. Employees should discuss scheduling issues and other needs with their managers to set expectations of their workload. Also, employers should set boundaries around their employees’ work hours and encourage their working parents to limit responding to late hour phone calls or working additional hours.

Provide Helpful Resources to Working Parents

The COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the mental health issues that come along with a global health crisis plagued with many uncertainties. Employers can help by providing information for their staff for mental health resources, coaching and support groups for working parents.

AmTrust Helps Small Businesses Policyholders

AmTrust supports our working parents, small business policyholders and our appointed agents throughout the coronavirus crisis. We’ve created a library of coronavirus resources and reopening tips to help you stay informed. For more information about our small business insurance solutions, please contact us today.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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