How Can Companies Support Working Families with Sick Kids?
Updated: Sep 13
How Can Companies Support Working Families with Sick Kids as RSV, Covid, and the Flu are on the Rise?
As the flu and RSV season gets underway, companies are asking themselves how they can support employees who need to stay home to care for their children. When an employee has sick kids at home, it creates an even bigger burden on them because they have no option but to miss work unless their employer understands this issue and offers some flexibility around working hours or remote work options.
Parents have to make hard choices between caring for their children and keeping their job.
Workplace absences for childcare reasons are at an all-time high, and with the flu and RSV season just beginning, parents have to make a choice between caring for their children and keeping their jobs. A difficult, guilt-ridden choice for parents, but they may not have a choice if they want to keep working. Employers need to be conscious that this scenario can be incredibly challenging for employees who need time off due to illness in their families. It’s important for employers to help strengthen relationships between employers and employees so that families know they have support during times of crisis or illness.
Employers can allow some flexibility with working hours or allow employees to work remotely.
Employers can allow some flexibility with working hours or allow employees to work remotely. This can be especially important for parents of young children who may need to adjust their schedule around the demands of caring for a sick child.
If you are an employer and want to help your employees support their families during this time, here are some quick tips:
Ask your team members how they feel about working from home on Monday (or any day) and what would make it possible for them.
Consider giving a partial day off on Monday for everyone who wants it – even if it doesn’t align with their vacation days or PTO/Sick Leave bank balance—as long as the department runs fine without them.
Provide clear guidelines about what kind of work will get done at home versus in-office; clear boundaries and timetables are a must to ensure expectations are still met within a less structured day. An example: all unfinished to-dos from Monday need to be done by 9 AM sharp, on Tuesday.
If a child is sent home from school, they will still need supervision.
A child being sent home from school is not necessarily a reflection of the quality of care they are receiving at school. Children may be sent home because their symptoms are worse than usual, or because they need more fluids and rest to recover. In either case, it’s important for parents to provide close supervision while their child recovers.
It is important that employers understand that if a child is sent home from school, this does not necessarily mean that work will stop for the day – especially if there are other children in the household who still need care! If an employee’s workplace cannot accommodate this request with sick children at home, it could have significant repercussions on retention rates among employees who care for sick children during peak flu season (which runs from November through March).
Employers who care and understand the needs of families will help strengthen relationships between employers and employees and thus increase retention.
If you can take care of your family, you’re more likely to stay at your job and are generally happier while you’re there. Employers who care and understand the needs of families will help strengthen relationships between employers and employees, which in turn increases retention. Employees feel valued when employers are flexible with their time off; they feel appreciated when they see their employer going out of their way to accommodate them and their families.
Working parents need support from their companies as part of an overall strategy for ensuring loyalty among staff members during periods when illness strikes children or other loved ones.