How HR can help parents manage work and childcare through COVID-19

Lockdowns and restrictions have placed a huge amount of pressure on parents. Restrictions and school closures have made it difficult to arrange childcare and balancing work, childcare and work-life balance is a key issue.

While it also presents a challenge for HR in how to support parents, thankfully a lot of learning has taken place in the last year or so, helping prepare everyone including HR and parents for the situations that arise from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The situation for parents

For parents, many will require time away from work for childcare which could mean a reduction in pay. Thankfully, free school meals will still be available through lockdown. Regardless however, the restrictions are likely to hit families financially.

Parents to have a right to take ‘reasonable’ time off work to find a solution, however this is unpaid which again presents a financial challenge.

Parents who work from home may find it easier to manage their hours around childcare, however those who are required in the workplace face a huge challenge.

The situation for HR

HR must remain aware of the changes in the political landscape. Laws and legislation are changing rapidly, often without much prior warning.

In Germany, the government recently announced an extension to child-sickness absence pay, meaning employees are allowed extra days paid sick leave to look after their children while at home.

Whether the UK Government will follow in a similar fashion remains to be seen, but HR must be prepared.

There’s also the effects on the business that potential short or medium term loss of labour could have too and managers may have to consider how workload will be redistributed.

As mentioned, HR must also consider the rights that each employee has when it comes to taking leave.

This guide to helping parents manage work and childcare through COVID-19 includes:

  • Financial advice and entitlements for parents
  • 5 key options for helping parents balance work and childcare
  • The benefits and challenges of each potential solution
  • Further considerations on how to support parents

Read our full guide on how HR can help parents manage work and childcare through COVID-19.