In the Pandemic, Parents are Seeking More Support from their Employers

It's no surprise the impact that the ongoing pandemic, COVID-19, has had on parents working to balance their work responsibilities and the demands on their child's schooling (whether distance, hybrid or in-person). Working parents are facing unprecedented child care challenges, and they’re looking for more support navigating them from HR leaders.

We scraped some results from Maven Clinic's recent Survey on Working Parents and the results are telling:

 

1. Remote learning isn't just about supervising children, but it's also about being an assistant teacher with their education.

"Being a teacher is putting a huge strain on our family."

One father with a six-year-old said remote schooling was a nice idea, but since he and his wife are not trained teachers, this has been an exercise that has “strained the very fabric of their family life” in lockdown. Managing everyone’s schedules and helping their child cope without playmates has been difficult. While being remote has helped, he said it won’t work well for the longer-term.

There hasn't been data yet, but  it'll be interesting to see how much students (in the U.S.) might possibly regress in this school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Nearly 60% of working parents do not feel supported by their employer as they navigate child care challenges. 

  • Most parents (57%) rated support from their employer as 7 or lower on a 0-10 point scale.  
  • Parents with children under 5 feel less supported than parents with older children (ages 10 and up). 
  • 1 in 5 parents feel they are receiving little to no support from their employer. 

 

Employers have had to get creative with their support measure, some offering stipends in childcare, subscriptions to care.com, or allowing parents to work part-time but with full-time benefits. The solutions have been helpful but parents still continue to struggle and have these child care challenges.

3.  The  long-term implications of parent's that balance full-time remote work and work from home have an affect on mental health can't be ignored.

"We can’t ignore the long-term psychological stress or potential career opt-out this can cause."

One parent, who leads a team of seven, said she feels like time is of the essence and leaders should prioritize speed to get better support structures in place for the parents and caretakers at our companies.

“Many parents have been dealing with two months of full-time parenting and full-time work — with no end in sight. People are drowning right now. Most moms I know are just in survival mode, to do what has to get done to keep the family going. We don’t have time to think about the difficulty of the situation and something has to give!

I’m concerned that it’s going to either lead people who can afford it to quit their jobs, or force people to take a leave of absence, which a lot of parents don’t actually want to do because they like working. Plus there's the long-term psychological stress and burnout that’s going to be hard to repair."

4. It's still unsure what the plans are in-place for children with neurodiverse needs: a conversation that we're not touching on enough.

"I'm also caring for a non-traditional learner."

“When people ask me the age of my daughter and learn she's a teenager I feel my concerns are dismissed because she's "older". But my child is neurodivergent and a non-traditional learner. She requires a lot of support and attention, so it's difficult to find consecutive hours of work."

Many children with neurodiverse needs are helped with educators that develop intensive IEP (Individualized Education Plans) and hands-on learning. Something difficult to do when parents are working fulltime and balancing different needs.

 

Resources:

The Working Parent Support Guide (2020)

Maven Clinic COVID-19 Childcare Tool

Sources (Maven Clinic, Working Parents Survey)