For Parents: Employees' Rights and Resources While Juggling Jobs and Childcare

Communicate, collaborate, and craft are steps an employment attorney suggests for parents' worried pandemic childcare requirements could jeopardize their jobs

NBCUniversal, Inc.

With kids likely doing distance learning in the fall, NBC 7 was curious about what that means for parents and their jobs. NBC 7 reporter Jackie Crea spoke with an employment attorney, Adam Rosenthal to get details that can help a parent worried their job will be jeopardized due to child care.

Q: “What kind of rights do they have if they cannot afford childcare and they have to stay home for their child, and the job cannot be done from home? Can the employer fire them? What rights do they have?

AR: "So let’s take a step back. There are a number of federal and state laws that protect employees that are both unique to COVID as well as preexisting. Focus on the three C's. The first is to communicate your needs to your employer.”

Rosenthal suggests telling your employer about your current child care situation.

The second C: collaborate.

AR: “Have a discussion about whether or not there are parts of your job you can work (around). Maybe it’s changing your shift. Maybe it’s finding a way to work remotely. Get creative.”

The third C: craft a plan.

AR: “Knowing your rights and looking up (info). You’re talking to your employer. Being knowledgeable from the resources available on the internet. Knowing what you have at your disposal should you not be able to do your job.”

Those resources include leaves of absence and sick leave at the local, state and federal level, Rosenthal said.

It also includes the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

For those who qualify, it covers two weeks of paid sick leave for someone who has COVID-19, is quarantined in connection to it, has to care for someone in quarantine or has to provide child care because schools and day cares are affected by the virus.

It may still be challenging to prepare and plan as things seem to constantly change.

AR: “What this pandemic has shown is that here's a need for more cohesive laws to protect employees during this situation. So I would encourage anyone who believes that they may end up in that situation, or are already are, call their congressman. Call their assemblyman and demand extra resources to help them get through this perilous time."

Three resources Rosenthal mentioned as pivotal for a comprehensive understanding of employees’ rights are: the U.S Department of Labor, the Employee Development Department and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency.

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