While there are plenty of childcare centers available for parents to place their children in while they work, the vast majority of these providers have specific rules, which includes the rule that sick children are supposed to stay home to prevent other children from catching the illness. When a working parent has a sick child, they often struggle with figuring out what to do.
A recent poll from the University of Michigan showed that a total of one-third of all working parents with younger children felt concerned that if they stayed home to take care of their sick children, they would lose out on their pay or would lose their employment completely. Parents who have children under the age of six years old were asked questions for the poll from the University of Michigan.
Of the adults who were polled, around two-thirds said that there was a point in time when their child or children were not able to attend childcare because they were sick at some point in the past year. Nearly half of the parents who were polled also indicated that they missed out on days of work because they had to care for their sick children.
Many of these parents also admitted that it is hard for them to find an alternative to daycare when their child is actually sick and unable to attend. A total of 33 percent of the parents felt concerned that by taking time off from work, they would lose their job and a total of 31 percent of parents said that they do not have enough paid leave to help cover any day that would need to take off if their children were to become sick.
According to the Andrew Hashikawa, a clinical lecturer for the pediatric emergency medicine, the poll shows that sick children causes concern for parents when it comes to their jobs. Hashikawa said, “The results of this poll clearly indicate that illnesses that lead to exclusions from child care are a substantial problem for working parents.”
He also said, “Improving employee benefits related to paid sick leave appears to be important for many parents. More supportive sick leave policies would allow parents to care for their sick children at home or give parents the opportunity to go to their child’s usual health care provider instead of the emergency room. Parents may also feel that they don’t have any other option but the emergency department if they want to have their children checked out after standard office hours and get them back to childcare the next day.”