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Coronavirus (COVID-19): School and Child Care Challenges

Author: Celia J. Collins

Employers scrambled to respond when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic erupted in 2020, abruptly closing schools, child care facilities and workplaces. For the 2020-2021 school year, many school systems announced that they will operate solely on a virtual basis or provide students the choice of virtual or in-person learning, or a hybrid of the two. Stay-at-home orders continue to evolve and employers are struggling to manage the situation.

Unless employers voluntarily continue to provide leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) framework from January 1, 2021, through March 31, 2021, in order to obtain tax credits, or are required to provide leave under state and local paid leave laws, employers may not be required to accommodate employees with child care responsibilities. Nevertheless, parents account for a large portion of the workforce and employers rely on parents. Flexibility is essential.