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Maternity & Family Benefits

COVID-19 has placed an immense burden on working parents and now is the time to support them

August 25, 2020

Your working parents are likely under immense pressure to make return-to-school decisions and they desperately need your support

If ever was the right time to show support for working parents who are juggling work, child-care and schooling-from-home responsibilities, it’s right now. We recently commissioned a survey of 18,000 Ovia Health members to find out just how working parents are navigating childcare and back-to-school decisions this fall. What we discovered is that most parents feel anxious, uncertain, and want more support from their employers in navigating these unprecedented matters.

Here are some of the most urgent takeaways from our new research that shed light onto the challenges that parents are facing right now:

Access to childcare

First among those challenges is widespread anxiety relating to not having access to childcare. 42% of parents expressed concern regarding not having the childcare support they need this Fall and beyond. Limited in-class schedules and childcare capacity could mean that parents will need to stay home with their children for the foreseeable future, and that can have long-term impacts on their careers.

Return-to-work

Parents with minor children make up around one-third of the national workforce; any economic recovery will undoubtedly rely on their continued participation in the labor force. 18% of parents are worried that they won’t be able to return to work when they need to and another recent study showed that nearly 75% of parents plan to make major changes to their careers to accommodate the lack of childcare. Some parents even reported that they are considering leaving the workforce altogether. Needless to say, this can have a disproportionate impact on women, as women often take on the brunt of childcare responsibilities and are more likely to drop out of the workforce than men in order to take care of children.

Fear of exposure

Another extremely common fear among Ovia parents is bringing the virus home. 56% of Ovia parents surveyed are worried that their partners or support people will contract COVID-19, and a whopping 73% are worried that their kid will get sick.

Job security

As September approaches and uncertainty looms, the pandemic is quickly threatening to harm an entire generation of working parents, with 30% of parents expressing concern about finances and/or job security. It’s vital for employers to recognize these specific challenges in order to set the right course of action and implement actionable and targeted solutions.

Whether it's navigating the risks and benefits of sending kids back to school, best practices to ensure family’s safety or even emotional support during the process, working parents could use all the support they can get. This is why we quickly shifted our priorities at Ovia Health to maximize and scale our support for our communities. In the process, we upended our offerings to ensure unparalleled levels of support both for our parent populations and enterprise partners.

During the past few months, we identified some of the most pressing and relevant topics concerning our communities and developed a multi-lever offering to address them. This consists of virtual one-on-one support from our clinical team of health coaches, a COVID-19 support center for parents with the latest resources concerning the pandemic, and virtual events that highlight best practices, the latest science and guides to challenging topics like childbirth during a pandemic, breastfeeding, emotional wellbeing and many more.

We also established a COVID-19 support center for our Enterprise partners that include school and daycare planning to facilitate decision making for parents throughout the pandemic. Our coaching team is now providing virtual support for parents with children (pre-K and school age) who are navigating school and daycare decisions in accordance with clinical protocols, personal and cultural considerations. We’re also constantly providing parents with digital resources to ensure their children’s health and development as well as activities to do with their toddlers to promote cognitive development, child nutrition and general pediatric wellness.

Finally, responding to the high levels of reported anxiety and depression amongst working parents during this time, we introduced digital depression tools and concierge services to help our participants navigate virtual health care, as well as emotional health coaching offered by our in-house coaching team of mental health social workers, now available 7 days a week.

Never have we felt more grateful to have access to and the trust of 15 million families, who are sharing with us their most pressing concerns and we’re getting straight to work in helping them feel supported and empowered to tackle them. We’ve always been advocating for increased employer support of populations navigating fertility, pregnancy and parenting journeys, and are now fully prepared to help employers be proactive and act with empathy.

Our hope is that employers continue to recognize their increased responsibilities during this time, and act proactively to avoid compromising the careers of an entire generation of working parents, particularly working moms who seem to be the most impacted so far. If you’re an HR leader looking for more ways to support your working parent populations during this time, please don’t hesitate to get in touch to find out how we can help.

To learn more about Ovia Health's COVID-19 support center and evidence-based clinical programming for employers, click here

To learn more about Ovia Health's COVID-19 support center and evidence-based clinical programming for health plans, click here