Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, a top concern for HR has been ensuring the wellbeing of working parents.
When lockdown periods were announced, schools temporarily closed their doors meaning that those with children were left juggling homeschooling, childcare and professional commitments.
New research conducted by Cleo, recently released in ‘The State of Working Parents Study’ covering Q3 of 2020, found that parents are still losing two full days each week as a result of their childcare responsibilities.
And it seems that a lack of childcare has been the biggest impact on working parents over the past months. In June the report found that 65% of families were without childcare coverage, compared to 50% in April, with only 15% of families having consistent childcare coverage. 20% had some partial or temporary coverage.
As of September, 34% of working families are still without childcare coverage, 42% of families reported having had partial coverage or have just recently found a solution to cover their childcare needs and just 21% of families have had a continued childcare solution.
And with cases rising, it seems that the issue is only growing; roughly 75% of families indicated that their children aged six or older are currently doing remote learning and not attending school in person, evidencing that childcare needs to be a continued element of HR’s approach to handling coronavirus.
Whilst the research was carried out in the US, there are key takeaways for UK-based people professionals when it comes to supporting working parents through the pandemic.
Ella's Kitchen Head of Keeping People Happy, Catherine Allen, recently told HR Grapevine about how the company looked after working parents amid the pandemic.
She explained: “We realised the parents would have to juggle home schooling with work so we immediately reassured the team that they should place their families first and we would continue to pay people in full regardless of how many hours they were able to work amongst homeschooling and childcare.
“We put in place support for parents including an internal support group, a session with an external parenting coach, a virtual training programme working on mental health and resilience run over six weeks.
“We also made sure our Mental Health First Aiders were available for 1-2-1 support, our employee assistance programme number was understood, and used, and provided external CBT and counselling in some cases," she concluded.