According to a recent survey, women are suffering the brunt of the economic fall-out of COVID-19.
- 60% of employees laid-off due to COVID-19 are women.
- Over 50% of working parents have lost childcare and women are most likely the primary caretakers who have to fill the childcare gap.
- Many women are considering leaving the workplace due to childcare concerns.
With COVID-19 cases rising, and a widespread vaccine not likely for months, the plight of women in the workforce may worsen in the near future.
Supporting employees through this crisis can include a combination of strategies, and not all are costly, including:
- Flexible scheduling options: engage with employees to identify work schedules that meet business and personal needs.
- Childcare support: offer guidance to childcare options – ask employees for ideas and proposed solutions.
- Intermittent leave: consider allowing employees with pressing childcare needs the option of taking leave and sharing childcare with other family members. Consider if leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is applicable.
- Job sharing: multiple employees may need similar accommodations to balance work with home needs, and they may be able to share responsibilities to get the work done on a reduced schedule.
Engaging employees in finding solutions and crafting new working models may be the new path forward; as well, it can build a culture of trust and loyalty. For employers who wish to retain talented women and maintain gender diversity, now is the time to identify employee needs, and evaluate possible actions. Contact Employers Council for assistance with questions about meeting employee challenges.