There's an epic battle brewing right now between parents and non-parents, who are angry about shouldering more work during the pandemic, according to recent news stories.
But a new poll proves those grievances are exaggerated and that many workers want to help out their working parent colleagues. In fact, over half of our coworkers are happy to pick up our slack so working parents can take paid leave, according to a recent survey.
The Pandemic Parental Leave Survey by FinanceBuzz asked 1,000 US adults about their thoughts on parental leave in mid-September. Not only were half of respondents happy to put in extra work to support parents at work, a whopping 78 percent of those surveyed believe parents should get paid leave to take care of their kids through the pandemic—and 51 percent said parents deserve at least eight weeks off. You can say that again.
Perhaps this is one silver lining of the coronavirus pandemic. Whether it’s a kiddo interrupting a Zoom call or the plethora of research on how screwed working moms are right now, our coworkers finally understand the pandemic-induced pressure placed on working parents. With only one in seven children in school in-person full-time and an increasing lack of childcare for working parents thanks to closed daycares, the juggling act hasn’t gotten any easier—and others are taking notice.
However, our colleagues’ willingness to pick up our slack means nothing if companies don’t put policies in place to help working parents, like, ahem, paid leave. Companies like Microsoft and Google extended their paid leave at the beginning of the pandemic to ease parents’ loads during the initial school closures, and Microsoft recently announced that most employees will now be able to work remotely permanently, which is a potentially career-saving perk for parents without childcare.
With moms by and large shouldering childcare and domestic duties, plus men being three times as likely to get a promotion amidst the pandemic, something’s got to give to save women from losing decades of progress.
If employers don’t extend a helping hand to parent employees—moms especially—it’ll surely send ripple effects throughout the economy and the workforce. Recent studies predict that anywhere from a quarter to a third of working parents will quit or scale back their jobs due to school closures, and working moms are going to be hit the hardest. In September, four times as many women dropped out of the workforce as men.
Employers, if you’re reading this: Get with the program. Working parents need some flexibility (and financial support) to make it through this crisis—our colleagues understand, so what’s the hold up?