5 Ways Employers Can Support Working Parents
In the US, about 41 million employees have children under the age of 18 at home. As the COVID-19 crisis continues, more employees are having to cope with disrupted education, family illness and loss of household income. By giving working parents the time and support they need to care for their children, workplace family-friendly policies can help reduce the burden on children and alleviate stress for the parents. Below are a few things organizations can do to help working parents during this pandemic:
- Assess Current Policies – Firstly, review all existing policies to make sure they’re inclusive of working parents. Check what is working well and what could be improved, then ask employees for their feedback. Listen with empathy and recognize everyone’s situation will be different. Additionally, consider your organization’s policy if an employee or someone in their house gets sick. Your policies should reflect your organization’s desired culture, so as things continue to change, the HR team may need to reevaluate again and adjust accordingly.
- Provide Childcare Options – As many daycares and schools are closed or going virtual, working parents may be struggling to balance childcare and their job. According to TechCrunch, 1 in 4 working parents felt their productivity was less than 50% of normal. UrbanSitter is a great tool to connect working parents with reliable caregivers and can provide tax breaks for employers. Additionally, allowing flexibility in work schedules can also be a benefit to working parents.
- Help with Mental Health Concerns – The last few months have been stressful for most people, especially those with prior mental health issues. According to the American Psychological Association, 88% of working mothers are more stressed now than they were pre-COVID, and this stress can impact work performance. Organizations can support their employees by offering mental health initiatives in their EAPs. This can include counseling, coaching, interactive webinars, and access to wellness apps like Calm and Headspace. Additionally, managers should check in on employees’ wellbeing and adjust workloads as needed.
- Provide Medical Resources – Employers can help direct workers who may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 to medical providers and services. For example, employers can clearly communicate the addresses and phone numbers of local hospitals, health authorities and emergency hotlines. They can also provide employees with guidance for safe transport to health-care providers.
- Check Relevant Laws – As you set new policies or make decisions about working parents, you’ll need to be aware of the local, state and federal laws where you operate that protect your employees’ rights or that may extend new benefits to them. For example, the FFCRA provides up to 12 weeks of family leave, which can be taken intermittently, if schools or childcare centers are closed and protects employees from losing their jobs. There may be more local legislation as well, so it’s important to check with your legal team to prevent any workplace-related claims.
In a few years, employees will remember how organizations treated them in times of crisis, so it’s critical to support them as much as possible. Ignoring working parents’ concerns now will only hurt your organization’s reputation and culture and can even deter talent in the future. For more tips on supporting your employees or help adjusting current policies, fill out the form below: