WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The pandemic is continuing to changing the way many Americans work as many are forced to deal with daycare, school and senior center closures while juggling job responsibilities from home.
Parents and caregivers who are remote workers cannot neglect their family responsibilities. It raises a critical question: how does corporate America create policies that allow employees to balance career and family?
“We’re getting messages from a number of workplaces that they’re not calling people back until the middle of next summer. So, this is just continuing,” Jean Chatzky, a financial ambassador with AARP told Eyewitness News.
That is just one effect the pandemic is having. Labor Department data reveals many employees have hit breaking point during the coronavirus crisis. In September alone, 865,000 women 20 and older left the workplace. That’s four times the number of men in that age group.
“What happened to women in particular who already did the majority of caregiving and child care before the pandemic were that we were just slammed with demands that continually increased and as a result women are just leaving the workplace in droves,” Chatzky said.
Numbers like that which spurred on a new survey from S&P Global and AARP. They polled 1,600 employees at large U.S. companies which employed at least 1,000 people who are parenting young children or caring for an adult.
“Sixty percent, three out of five, said the number of hours they are spending on care has increased since before the pandemic and seventy-five said that their levels of stress have gone up precipitously,” Chatzky said.
Especially for younger women but the study reveals employers can help by starting with some low-cost measures.
“They can offer flexible hours. They can put together employee resource groups,” Chatzky said.
Some are already offering subsidized backup child care or elder care and paid family leave.
“And yes, those policies are going to have to continue beyond the pandemic because what seems to be happening is that we have really fast forwarded a way into the future,” Chatzky said.
Chatzky recommends talking to your employer about what’s available and talking to your significant other about leveling the workload at home.
The AARP has more resources to help deal with the struggling of working from home while caring for children or adults in need.