Bobbi Thomason Shares Perspective Article on Supporting Caregivers in the Post-COVID Economy for CNN Business
As some workplaces start to reopen and work-from-home guidelines relax, corporate leaders may hope things will quickly get back to normal. For employees who are also caregivers, the return to normalcy will take time. Many employees may have children who are still taking online classes and learning from home, lack access to childcare or have an ill or elderly family member in need of care.
In the transitional period of the pandemic, organizations and managers will need to give caregivers the time they need -- particularly in terms of time off -- and to create a work culture that supports them. Companies that have the financial capability to provide emergency leave should make efforts to do so. RAND researchers have estimated around 88 percent of households have no young children at home or have a non-working adult or older child who could provide childcare. While these numbers do not account for those providing full-time care to adults, it’s presumed that the number of employees that need the time off is a small overall percentage of employees.
Most employees will not need caregiver time off, but for the small percentage of employees that do, it's critical. There is extensive research on how balancing paid jobs and caregiving demand -- a role that disproportionately falls on the shoulders of women -- is particularly stressful and can even be associated with physical and mental illness. Many childcare centers will not financially be able to reopen, and those that step away from careers because they lack childcare options will disproportionately be working moms. This risk undermines the investments many companies have already made in increasing diversity among their workforce. Read more.