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COVID-19 Guidance: Family-Friendly Policies For Employers

Understanding the significant impact that the lack of childcare services has on families as the country gradually re-opens the economy, it is critical for the Cayman Islands Government to give working parents the time, information, services and resources they need to cope with the crisis.

Part of this effort involves developing guidance on family-friendly policies and practices for employers to support families, single parents, and employees with limited or no childcare options in the short, medium and long-term.

You can download our guidance here:

Download Guidance

 

What Are Some Steps Employers Can Take?

While not an exhaustive list, the following are constructive policies and practices that will help families and can be implemented by employers:

  1. Conduct an employee needs assessment: Assess whether current workplace policies provide sufficient support to employees and their families by directly engaging with employees including virtually where necessary, to understand their most immediate needs.Special focus should be placed on the more vulnerable such as young/older,
    Pregnant or nursing employees, employees with disabilities or those who
    Have children with disabilities or provide caregiving to elderly family
    Members.
  2. Provide equipment to parents who need additional equipment for their children to participate in virtual schooling.
  3. Where possible, provide transport for staff and children to attend work and school/childcare. For example, collaboration can be made with tour operators who no longer have immediate tourism business.
  4. Provide psychosocial support:
    1. Where possible, counsellor/s should be contracted and made available to all staff during this time and beyond.
    2.  Alternatively, employees should be made aware of available community-based services.
  5. Childcare services is an integral part of family-friendly policies in the context of widespread school and childcare closures. Employers can provide critical support to parents who are faced with limited or no childcare options. Employer support can take multiple forms based on feasibility and employee needs:
    1. Communicate and provide information on the availability of childcare services to employees in the context of the covid-19 pandemic.
    2. For companies with lower risk workplaces, where staff are required to be
      In the workplace, consider allowing employees to bring their children to work. Employees have the responsibility to keep their children (of an appropriate age) safe in accordance with the company’s health and safety protocols and to keep their children occupied (for e.G., with online schooling or other structured activities).
    3. Where possible, consider implementing employer sponsored childcare/employer subsidies or childcare allowances. This type of childcare support should cover as many working families as possible, particularly children from the most vulnerable families (for e.G., low income, domestic and care workers, persons with disabilities, single-headed households and parents without support from extended family).
    4. Consider implementing childcare referral systems and collaboration with external childcare providers for emergency situations.
    5. Consider that some parents prefer care arrangements closer to home, where they have trusted networks of support and/or when they are not able to or are concerned about traveling with their child (for e.G., unsafe conditions or high costs). In such cases, ensure support through, for example, flexible work and childcare allowances.
  6. Implement flexible working arrangements:
    1. Employers should undertake an organisational assessment to determine
      What kind of flexible scheduling will best meet the needs of employees, including parents and those with other family responsibilities such as caring for elderly or sick family members, in the context of the crisis, while ensuring business continuity.
    2. If properly designed, flexible work arrangements give employees greater freedom of when and where to fulfil their job responsibilities. They support employees to meet personal or family needs and achieve better work-life balance. They also enhance employees productivity in challenging circumstances.
    3. Flexible work arrangements are particularly important in the context of widespread school closures and restricted childcare options. They ensure
      working parents have enough time to support their children’s learning and
      development, and to spend time with their children to cope with stress.
  7.  In cases of family illness or separation where flexible working arrangements cannot be made, consider making paid time off available to allow workers to care for and maintain contact with family members without jeopardizing income security.

Learn more about this and other advice in our guidance:

Download Guidance

Tags: Business, Guidance

Cayman Islands Government, Government Admin Building, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, Tel: 345 949 7900

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