How Can I Support Employees Dealing with Remote Learning?

I have employees in three different school districts, and each district has different rules for attendance. Because of COVID-19, some of my employees have kids doing 100% remote learning, some are doing hybrid learning and the last school district lets employees choose. We have 200 employees, so we’re subject to the Family First Coronavirus Response Act. Do I have to let everyone take paid time off? Should I have to let parents work from home? We’ve re-opened and we’re much more productive in-person, so I’m not sure how to best support parents without jeopardizing our business.

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9 thoughts on “How Can I Support Employees Dealing with Remote Learning?

  1. Very good advice. These situations are going to require a lot of communication and flexibility, and — likely — will require ongoing changes and adaptations, in order to adjust to changing circumstances and unforeseen problems. It benefits everyone for the organization to retain staff, maintain employee morale, preserve operations and protect everyone — to the greatest extent possible — from the spread of COVID-19.

  2. There is misinformation in this article. Parents who have children in hybrid learning CAN take paid leave on days where students aren’t in school. It is referenced in FAQ 98, 99, and 100 on the DOL website.

  3. This isn’t entirely correct: 2. The parents in the hybrid learning school district are not entitled to the time.

    They are entitled to FFCRA on the days the kids are NOT in school, but they aren’t on the days that in person learning is available.

    Although it can be very tough, the important thing to remember is this is essentially another reason for FMLA that just happens to have pay associated with it. So just as there is no hardship exemption for FMLA, there is no hardship exemption for this either.

    As grannybunny said, you and your staff are going to have to be flexible, creative, and adaptive.

  4. Hello, actually I think you are incorrect about the parents with children in a hybrid schooling model. Based on updated FAQs for the FFCRA on the days that the kids are doing remotely and are not allowed at the school, parents are eligible for the FFCRA leave. For instance, in our district kids are broken into Groups A and B. Group A attends school in-person on Monday and Wednesday and they do remote learning on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. On those remote days, the school is considered “closed” to Group A students thus making their parents eligible for FFCRA leave if they need to supply childcare and assist with remote learning. Generally the age limit is 14 unless there are extentuating circumstance for a child older than 14.

  5. The article focuses on helping parents, but we need to address the other staff that need to pick up the slack. Even if just 20% of the workforce needs to take leave, then there is 20% more work for the rest of the staff to pick-up. If you have a department of 2 and one goes on leave for 12 weeks, then you are left with one team member that has to work nights and weekends to get the bare-minimum done.
    Be realistic with deadlines and project loads. Everything that can be pushed off till next year should be pushed off till next year. Hire temp help.

    1. Thank you for bringing that point into focus. We have beome so focus on creating positive work schedules for people to attend to outside work needs, we have forgotten about the workers who haven’t yet needed to use these schedule adjustments, who are still actively working and still actively productive. There’s a limit on how much extra work does the employee have to take on before it becomes overwhelming. There’s also the chance that the employee taking on the extra work will feel uncompensated for this while the other employee gets all the extra time off. If you as the employer value this worker as well as the other one who requests accomodations, you should have methods available for compensation for the extra efforts on their part before you may lose them as an employee.

      1. Another part of the solution should be evaluating company, team and individual goals and pulling back on projects that are less urgent or mission-critical. This will ease up on everyone’s workload, make flexible work schedules easier to accommodate, and allow the business to stay focused on what’s most important.

        Realize that the current state of the pandemic and school closures may be long-term, but is temporary. Consider changes to your business goals as temporary modifications – that should make them easier to swallow for senior leadership or a BoD.

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