While the coronavirus pandemic has made life more difficult for most people, none have seen the challenges of working from home like working parents, and especially working mothers.
Nearly every organization in America has employees who have children. In the U.S., there are 34 million families with children under 18-years-old. Among these households, 97% have at least one working parent, and 61% of household with children have two working parents.
While household responsibilities fall on parents, and specifically on mothers, the workforce is losing parents during the coronavirus pandemic.
Two surveys, done by family benefits platform Cleo, reveal how parents have shifted their opinions on child care, returning to the office, and whether or not its worth it for them to continue to work from the beginning of the pandemic, in April, to more recently, in a survey done in June.
Parents are dropping out of the workforce
It’s not news that women bear the brunt of doing unpaid labor in the household. Whether it’s cooking, cleaning, or taking care of children, these tasks most likely fall on the woman, which is partly why women are leaving the workforce at higher rates than men during the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the households that were surveyed, 56% reported the mothers reported they were managing most or all of the caregiving.
In the April survey, 20% of people reported they were considering leaving the workforce. The June survey revealed that 33% of people reported that one parent has either left the workforce or dropped down to working part-time, with it being the woman to leave or reduce hours in 70% of the cases.
Lack of childcare has become more significant
In the April survey, 50% of parents reported having some form of childcare coverage. By June, that figure dropped down to 35% of families. Since shelter in place orders came into effect, only 15% of families have had regular access to childcare.
The issue of childcare is one that will be present even when parents return to work. When parents were asked what their top concern was for returning to work, 98% of them said that their top concerns are coordinating responsibilities with their partner and childcare logistics.
In April, families began to make plans, with 53% of families expecting to move closer to their families, or have their families move closer to them, so that they could help out with childcare, however, the June survey revealed that only 28% of people had outside help from their family.
Parents are looking for help, but few are finding it. In April, 16% of the respondents said that they would be open to hiring a nanny or taking advantage of a share-care model, but in June, only 3% had hired a nanny or joined a share-care group.
When it comes to returning to the office, 53% of parents are concerned about securing childcare.
Concerns about returning to the workplace center around burnout
Many people have concerns about returning to work. Whether they are nervous about contracting coronavirus or simply don’t want to deal with their commute again, everyone has their reasons for not wanting to return to the office. For parents, 55% are concerned about the health risk that is attached to returning to the office, but slightly more (57%) are concerned about managing burnout between their work and home lives.
When it comes to supporting parents, it all starts with reaching out to your employees with children and understanding both their needs and concerns. Check out our article for more ideas on how employers can support working parents while working remotely.
Jennifer Fabiano is an SEO reporter at Ladders.