How to Handle Back-to-Work Without Back-to-School

How to Handle Back-to-Work Without Back-to-School

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Scott Dylan Westerlund
 | 
Before the pandemic hit, only about 17% of Americans were working from home. Once Covid-19 came on the scene, everything changed. That statistic shot up to a whopping 44% of the workforce.

Now that things are starting to return to normal, Americans are bracing for a return to work and school. Not every state is uniform in its policies yet, though, which could mean there are parents who are ready to go back to work but can’t because schools will still be closed in their area in the fall. If the above scenario sounds like the situation you’re facing, then you’re likely wondering what you should do! Can your employer force you to return to the office if schools are closed? How should you prepare for the fall?

 

Planning for the Fall: Back-to-Work and Back-to-School


We’re only a few short months away from the start of a brand new school year. For millions of American students, these months could mean a long-awaited return to school, but for others, it could mean another year of virtual learning.

While much of adult life is getting back to normal thanks to vaccines, it’s crucial for society not to overlook our children. Right now, there isn’t an approved vaccine for youngsters who are 12 and under. That means their lives might not fully return to normal in the fall. Instead, they might still be stuck learning from home, wearing masks, and socially distancing.

Children who are older than 12 years old will likely be permitted to resume in-school learning, but it’s yet to be seen whether a Covid-19 vaccine will be a requirement for going back to school. If you currently have children who are 12 years old or older, then it’s a good idea to start debating on whether getting a vaccine is the best choice for your child. If you wait until school is about to begin, then your child may have to wait until they’ve received both doses and waited two weeks before coming back to school.

 

Can I Keep Working From Home if Schools Don’t Open?


So, how do you plan for back-to-work time if your child’s back-to-school will include virtual learning plans? It’s a good time to start discussing your situation with your employer now before the situation comes up. Ask if it’s possible for you to continue teleworking until the local schools do open.

In the best cases, your employer will agree to keep letting you work from home. In the worst, they might not be able to offer you any work remotely. When that’s the case, are they required to accommodate your situation?

According to the Department of Labor, employers aren’t bound by the law to accommodate your child care situation. Some states, though, have mandated that employers provide unpaid or paid leave. If you’re interested in learning what your state laws are, then it’s a good idea to get in touch with an attorney in your area.

The good news, though, is that many employers have been understanding during this unprecedented time. They might be more willing to help you than they would’ve been prior to 2020.

 

How the Pandemic Has Opened the Door for Work-From-Home Parents



When the pandemic hit, women were disproportionately impacted by school closures. Many parents were forced to stop working in order to provide childcare. While many believed that they’d be entitled to accommodations or at least unemployment benefits, they were surprised to learn that they were not.

Prior to and during the pandemic, parents have needed to step up and help children with school while also working from home. While you may be ready to go back to work in the fall, your child’s school might not be ready for them to come back. With that in mind, it’s crucial to start discussing your fall plans with your employer now.

Your employer may or may not be required to offer you some form of accommodation based on the laws in your state.

Do you have more questions about the pandemic and how it impacts your rights as an employee? Are you concerned that your employer is overstepping their boundaries or failing to reasonably accommodate you during this tumultuous time? If so, then we suggest consulting with an attorney in your area who can answer your specific questions. Navigate over to our lawyer search area now and enter in your ZIP code to discover an attorney who can help.


This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps. 
 
 
 
Scott Dylan Westerlund

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