Since March 2020 over 100,000 childcare facilities have closed due to #Coronavirus. Other care providers, such as churches, after-school programs, in-home, and family providers, are no longer available. And now that schools are officially out for summer, working parents are struggling in the absence of structured activities and summer programs.
If you've been called back to work, finding coverage for your kids can be #stressful. But there are new resources and assistance that may help with your childcare needs.
It's not always easy to communicate with your manager, especially when you're asking for help - but you may be surprised at how many people truly empathize with this situation. Here are a few tips that may help:
Don't delay, timing matters
Discuss your childcare situation with your manager or employer as soon as you can. The sooner they know, the sooner you can start solving the problem together
Be clear and document your childcare situation
Explain as clearly as possible your current childcare challenges. Writing this down in advance can help you organize your thoughts and creates a written record of what was discussed (records may be needed to access certain programs and benefits - so it's good to have an extra copy too.)
Understand what your employer offers for childcare assistance or accommodations
Research your employers policies and programs. This information may come from an employee portal (website), human resources (HR) representative, or from your manager. If you are having trouble finding this information or you have questions about what you find, speak with your manager. While employers are generally not required to provide childcare assistance, you may be able to negotiate a solution
Partner with your employer to find a solution
This is a very challenging time for workers and employers alike. You should prepare yourself to hear a "no" - especially if the solution costs the company effort, money, or time. If your employer or manager declines to help, ask if there’s any flexibility or if they have any suggestions that may help. Be willing to get creative - like using personal or sick days while you pursue a permanent solution.
Under FFCRA, an employee may receive up to 2 weeks paid sick time and another 10 weeks unpaid time off, if the employee is unable to work because they are caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed for reasons related to COVID-19.
It requires that covered employers pay sick leave to employees for COVID-19 related absences. To find out if your employer is covered, go to the FFCRA site. FFCRA was enacted in March 2020 and remains in effect until December 2020.
If you believe you qualify and want to pursue this benefit:
Dealing with childcare in the middle of the pandemic can be a real challenge, but don't go it alone. Bring your employer in as a problem solving partner - and if you need, tap into the resources that are available to help.