Support for Working Parents During the COVID-19 Crisis

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, many employees are being challenged in ways they’ve never experienced before. Especially impacted are working parents, now charged with taking on new roles including teacher, care provider, counselor, cafeteria worker, entertainer and more. All, while continuing to fulfill their professional responsibilities under extraordinary circumstances.

According to a recent MIT study, over one third of the labor force has switched to remote work. Added to that, the nationwide coronavirus pandemic forcing unprecedented K-12 school closures, and working parents are now required to manage burdensome remote learning tasks.

According to Education Week, who is tracking school closures daily, 43 states, 4 U.S. territories and the District of Columbia have ordered or recommended school building closures for the rest of the academic year, affecting approximately 55.1 million school students.

A major concern many parents are also facing is whether COVID-19 extended school closures will impact student’s growth and achievement long term. According to research, NWEA projects major academic impacts for students. Preliminary estimates suggest students will return in fall 2020 with roughly 70% of the learning gains in reading relative to a typical school year and less than 50% of the learning gains in mathematics.

Essential workers may be in an even tougher situation, forced to be at work during school hours. This can often leave just one parent, or no one at all, at home. As a result, these workers, along with many other working parents, are struggling to find temporary child care.

Then, considering that remote learning typically only lasts for a few hours a day, parents are then forced to come up with new ways to keep kids active and entertained while staying at home.

Online Tutoring & Academic Resources

This constant demand on parents can certainly take its toll. So, what can employers do to help lighten the load of their workforce? Here are some high impact employee benefits that can support working parents during this time.

Online Tutoring & Academic Resources
To help ease some of the educational burden that has been hefted onto working parents nationwide as schools and libraries close, employers can provide access to online academic programs that offer on-demand access to expert professional tutors and resources like test prep, self-study guides and online lessons that can help families overcome educational challenges, and keep kids learning. These benefits cover core subjects across grades K-12, college and university where students all over the country could be falling behind. Additionally, this support can help ease the stress and struggle many parents are experiencing as they are tasked with helping their children learn everything from algebra and biology to reading, social studies and more.

Backup Child Care
Offering company subsidized backup care as regular care plans are disrupted will help working parents continue to remain focused and productive while working, knowing their children are being cared for by either trusted caregivers they know or vetted care providers. We’ve seen many of our clients rely heavily on this program during this time, with an 800% increase in utilization in one week. We’ve also seen clients either increase their available care allotment or implement a new program entirely.

Ideas for Activities
Keeping kids happy and healthy, along with the burden of remote learning, is a hefty task. Curating creative suggestions to help keep children entertained is extremely helpful for parents right now. Many moms and dads have found themselves exhausted trying to invent new ways to engage kids, without relying on screens. Employers can offer access to online tools and resources that range from crafts to sports to educational games, and will take that burden off your employees.

Employee Discounts
Many employees are facing new financial struggles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Offering employees an easy to access, complimentary discount program that can help them save on day-to-day essentials like groceries, meal delivery, child care, and major purchases like home office equipment, electronics, and more, is a great way employers can alleviate some of their financial burden.

Emotional Health Support
In the face of all this demand, working parents may find themselves stretched too thin, experiencing increased stress levels, anxiety and emotional health concerns. That’s why it’s important that employers offer Employee Assistance Programs so employees have somewhere to turn to help manage these emotions. It’s also imperative to regularly share emotional health resources and information to help employees recognize if they have an issue and learn how to cope.

Although employers can’t completely relieve the challenges their employees are facing, offering the best support possible can go a long way to remove some of the burdens they face and in turn, improve focus, productivity and morale.

To learn more about programs that support your employees we’re here to help. Contact us here or call us at (866) 675-3751.