By Lisa Aggarwal
Photo Credit: ©Angelina Zinovieva
Looking for a new job? Many people have gotten one they didn’t ask for. Parents fortunate enough to remain employed have the additional unpaid role of providing full-time childcare, entertainment, and assisted education to their children. Schools are closed. Daycares are shuttered and an estimated 50% will not return to operation in the future. Try working while a two-year-old tugs on your sleeve for 8 hours…it’s great!
Many professionals are tending to their children’s countless needs during waking hours and then working all through the night. If you work outside the home, you may have no choice but to entrust your children’s care to someone else. If you are among the growing number of unemployed workers, finding childcare for when job hunting activities or once re-employed poses another real challenge. Not every household has a reliable caregiver available to remain home. Affordable and available childcare isn’t a hallmark of American culture.
There are some options for working parents, however. A recent Time Magazine article outlining worker rights during the pandemic highlights that in companies who employ 50 or more people, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) could provide a solution. “The FFCRA was intended to prop up the U.S. economy during the pandemic, and includes some new or expanded worker protections that last through Dec 31, 2020. The FFCRA also extends up to 12 weeks of paid ‘expanded family and medical leave’ at two thirds’ pay to employees unable to work (or telework) because they are caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed because of coronavirus. It’s subject to caps and requires that employees have been at their company for 30 days before taking leave.”
Once areas emerge from the pandemic, will parents even feel comfortable sending their children to school and those daycare facilities that economically survive? New reports are surfacing of COVID-19 symptoms affecting children, and aggregate group settings are undoubtedly of higher risk. Childcare solutions are critical to having a population able to return to work. According to the Pro-Market, the blog of the Stigler Center at U of C’s Booth School, “While there is scope for a large rebound in employment even if schools and daycares remain closed, the economy will remain 17 million workers short of normal employment in this scenario. Furthermore, many of those working when schools are closed will only be able to do so if a spouse or partner or who would typically be working instead remains home.” It’s a tightrope we will all walk in finding a safe, yet economically viable way to proceed, and parents will likely continue to have a two-year-old tugging at their sleeve while we walk it. Read More Here