Parents and Caregivers Still Need Flexibility from Employers

It’s been approximately 16 months since the U.S. (the world really) practically came to a standstill due to the pandemic. As much of the nation became a work-from-home workforce, many parents went from full-time employees to facing additional responsibilities of becoming teachers, chefs, caregivers, etc. Most could not rely on the traditional assistance from parents or older relatives for fear of endangering the lives of their family members. And how many of us can afford to have nannies or live-in caregivers? Many people were forced to leave the workforce due to caregiving responsibilities (most of those were women). 

Here we are, 16 months later, and we now have several vaccines to help ease the devastation of the coronavirus. According to the CDC, over 56% of those ages 12 and up in the U.S. are fully vaccinated. Alternatively, this means that 44% are not vaccinated. I am reluctant to use the term ‘post-pandemic’ as the number of people with coronavirus has started to creep up across the U.S.  

The highly contagious delta variant is causing a spike in cases and overwhelming hospitals. As the number of cases increases, it’s reported that White House officials have debated reviving face mask mandates. Just a week ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released new Covid-19 guidance for schools that supports in-person learning and recommends universal masking in schools for everyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status. Yet, the continued debate over masks comes as school districts are preparing to welcome back students. Even with the AAP recommendations, many states struggle with whether to require masks in schools or keep them optional.

While the mask debate rages on, we find ourselves immersed in the intense heat of summer. But for parents —particularly those with children under the age of 12— the threat of the pandemic has not dissipated. Parents must still wrestle with health care concerns for their children, as they now attempt to figure out what to do with their children for the summer. Most states have removed restrictions allowing social activities and events to flourish once again. Yet employees with younger children must remain vigilant. These employees (along with those who have caregiver responsibilities) still need employers to be flexible. They still need employers who are empathetic and patient. 

These employees also need to find ways to manage self-care. Self-care can take many different forms. We all must find what works best for us individually. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be complicated or take too much time. This article suggests some ideas to get you started or to add to your current repertoire. Caregivers must be reminded that to be your best for others, you must take care of yourself. 


● ALA Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship (COSWL) Caregiver’s Toolkit

7 Self-Care Strategies for Your Employees (


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