It’s Fall 2020 and working parents are still juggling a moving target…
It’s confusing and frustrating, but this is today’s reality and businesses can adapt and thrive.
Parents are trying to balance their work and home responsibilities. How can employers be understanding while maintaining the bottom line? We’re all eager to get back to a predictable schedule, but we’re not there yet. Remain flexible, trust your employees and learn how your business can help working parents.
Add flexibility to your WFH policy
Schools are following a more regimented schedule this fall compared to spring, but parental involvement is still required especially for those with younger kids. Develop a WFH policy that considers the unique challenges parents are facing.
- Expectations with schedules, overtime and workspace considerations with kids around
- Hybrid learning could quickly change to fully remote. Encourage employees to use PTO as school demands change or if they need a mental health day
- Regularly scheduled check-ins keep everyone feeling connected. Give working parents latitude with attending these or record them for later viewing
- Employees should assess their home workspace for hazards (i.e. toys, kids spilling liquid, etc.) that could cause personal injury or equipment damage
- Boundaries are being blurred. Develop rules around working hours and meeting times so employees don’t burn out
You don’t want to trigger resentment among colleagues without children, so use inclusive language. These are stressful times, and everyone could use extra understanding.
How do employers support hourly employees during remote learning?
Even while working from home, hourly employees must keep track of time worked under FLSA. For employees who need to sit with their children during school hours, consider adjusting their work hours. Later start times, flexible hours and even early/evening working hours could help. Could Saturday be a workday option?
Regardless of what arrangements are made for the work schedule, the employee should keep track of their hours and follow availability and attendance standards. Hours can be monitored with mobile attendance systems such as Time-Doctor and Timely. Keep in mind, when hourly employees respond to emails after work hours, this time is compensable.
How is HIPAA and Security affected by WFH?
With attention being divided between work and kids, it’s good to remind everyone about HIPAA guidelines and company protocols so all work documents and personal information (client or patient) remain secure. Remind your team to protect their computer password and work documents. Never leave them visible at home or in the car. Store sensitive information in a folder so it’s out of view.
What if an employee’s job can’t be done remotely?
If your employee needs to be home with their school-age children but cannot work, you cannot terminate them. Qualified employers subject to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA) can be sued by Department of Labor or by the employee if they are denied their entitled leave. Under the CARES ACT (part of the FFCRA), qualifying employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks paid leave at 2/3’s of their regular rate of pay. To qualify, the child’s school must be closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
MidwestHR is a leading CPEO in Illinois (certified professional employer organization). Our clients rely on us to manage their HR functions including payroll and tax administration, benefits management, workers’ compensation, risk management and more. During the pandemic, we have also guided clients with everything from applying for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to furloughing team members. Whether it’s a work from home policy or protocols for returning to work safely, we are here for our clients. Give us a call at 630-836-3000 to learn more.