The benefits depend on where people work and the type of job they have. This emerges from a new study that highlights the differences that predate the pandemic.
Parents who were multitasking during the pandemic – clerks, teachers and full-time childcare workers – needed help. But whether they get one depends on where they work.
Some of the largest companies in the country, including Microsoft, Facebook and Google, already offer subsidized holidays and child care. Other companies have gotten creative, running online camps or recruiting teachers, and turning their vacant offices into remote schools for employees’ children.
More than three-quarters of working parents said their employers did not allocate additional money for vacations or child care to the New York Times of 1,081 parents, according to a Morning Consult survey. Highly skilled and highly profitable workers are much more likely to have vacations, flexible working hours, or subsidized child care or training.
The United States has long treated childcare as something families must create for themselves: it is the only wealthy country without a federal obligation to provide paid holidays, and is far behind many other developed countries when it comes to childcare. subsidize working parents. However, the pandemic has made it clear how dependent the US economy is on childcare. Parents cannot work without them.
“Particularly in the United States, where our leadership skills are really lacking right now, employees are looking for more jobs to fill support gaps that parents normally close,” said Erin L. Thomas, vice president of diversity and talent acquisition. . at Upwork, which combines the liberal profession and business.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Congress provides parents whose schools or children’s centers are closed 12 weeks on partial paid leave. But at least half of the workers did not meet the requirements, and the crisis lasted longer than covered leave.
Many companies are unable to offer additional benefits. Those who can say it’s a human thing for employees – and an investment that pays off.
“These people are doing a very important job, generating a lot of value for the customer, and it’s probably worth a lot of money to get them to work and do the best they can,” said Sean Busse, CEO of Kinesis, a marketing firm. and strategy in Portland, Oregon. Kinesis has hired a teacher to supervise their staff’s children’s online school.
Employers need to rethink the benefits of a pandemic because the situation is as diverse as what workers would normally need.
Research shows that flexibility is the most common benefit offered by employers. 86 percent of 1,087 HR professionals surveyed by the Human Resources Management Society said they offer flexible working hours. Half of the parents who worked on the Morning Consult poll told The Times that employers let them change their working hours.
Less than 10 percent of employers offer child care benefits. However, money for a babysitter or teacher can be more valuable to parents than flexibility or even peace of mind. Although parents usually need deadlines for home births, children now need long-term care or daily personal assistance for online schooling. And while the fees for employers for flexible working hours are minimal, the costs for employees can be high. For many parents, continuing to work at night or at night or cutting wages to a reduced schedule is unsustainable. Financial assistance to parents also helps invisible co-workers who, employers say, have worsened by allowing parents to return to work full-time.
“One thing that stands out in our internal study is that parents really want to keep working,” said Ms. Thomas, who has a PhD. in social psychology and focuses on diversity in corporate culture. “I hope to hear more, ‘I need to rest or I’m going to retire. Instead, they basically say,’ How can I hack human biology to do three different jobs and never have to sleep? ‘
Several companies are trying to handle this. For example, Walmart, Procter & Gamble, and John Hancock offer campgrounds and online courses to help engage children. John Hancocks’ camp includes a research project, interview time with the CEO, and friends of friends (3,000 children per employee).
“It really helps,” said Erica Noble, senior communications director at Procter & Gamble. “Because flexibility helps, but in the end I have 5 year olds and 8 year olds and they have to do something during the day.”
Last spring, Kinesis, a company based in Portland, donated a laptop for online training and activated a flexible schedule. When it became clear that the school wouldn’t open this fall, those in charge realized that this wasn’t enough. The company employs an online school teacher in its vacant office space for five of its 13 employees so that their parents can work from home without interruption. When the daycare center closes again, she plans to do the same for staff with younger children, perhaps by renting a house and hiring a preschool teacher.