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How is your employer supporting your caring obligations?


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#1 Orangecake

Posted 30 March 2020 - 07:25 AM

In our state schools are closed to students from today, a week earlier than expected. DH and I are fortunate to have jobs and able to work from home. However, we are both working on long days in senior roles and it's already become stressful with 2 young kids!

Our employers have out out a generic request asking people to take leave if they need some time to help manage kids. This is only going to stretch over 3 weeks at best and it's likely term 2 will also be student free. Are other employers doing anything to help manage? Extra leave, ability to use carers leave etc?

Edited by Orangecake, 30 March 2020 - 07:25 AM.


#2 nom_de_plume

Posted 30 March 2020 - 07:34 AM

I'm in Vic so have been in this situation since last week.

My employer is doing nothing. I am taking annual leave as they will not allow us to work from home. I will be out of leave by the end of the school holidays and am them expected to take leave without pay. They have made no change to the process for accessing leave.

#3 Silverstreak

Posted 30 March 2020 - 08:41 AM

I'm currently on holidays, but my employer is working on extending leave due to caring for school kids at home or temporary cessation of work (Vic public service here.)

#4 -Emissary-

Posted 30 March 2020 - 08:48 AM

My employer is offering special leave for anyone who has carers obligations but have exhausted all their leave (both carers and annual).

#5 NannyPlumPudding

Posted 30 March 2020 - 08:52 AM

he video calls my kids so I can work 🤣🤣

I have reduced my hours but still paid the same - as long as im available and the work is done he doesn't care.

We are fairly quiet at the moment so other than the accounts, the rest of the admin team can help me out (and want to help out because it gives them something to do!)

They are all in their 20s with no kids and stuck at home so our video chats are very entertaining to them.

Also, my boss is my Dad so he can entertain my kids if he wants me to do my job 😂

#6 gravity1

Posted 30 March 2020 - 09:01 AM

I’m still going to work while DS15 is at home. I’m waiting for the news that I’ll be working from home.

#7 Mose

Posted 30 March 2020 - 09:12 AM

My employer is allowing up to 10 days carers leave to be taken (either as whole days or a few hours a day) irrespective of whether kids are ill
DH employer is saying if you can get half a day done, all good, if you are managing less than half a day please take carers leave (very generous carers leave allowance).

So both very reasonable and understanding....but both our jobs of amped up considerably and there are no hours in the day we could take this leave!  Kids (3 and 9) just having to cope. It is very hard to manage.

#8 StoneFoxArrow

Posted 30 March 2020 - 09:21 AM

Federal government department, not being particularly supportive of caring arrangements. I think all of the departments are being directed to provide the same advice (as it's also coming from the APSC).

Basically:
Work from home if you can (however there are big issues with that across different departments - IT or lack of laptops for staff are just a few);
If you choose to have your kids at home (because schools aren't closed here, just pupil free for non-essential workers and we're considered essential workers apparently) and you can't do your hours, use personal or annual leave, once it's exhausted there will be no other leave.

I'm pretty disappointed in their position actually and am hoping that soon enough, they'll get on board with being reasonable. Also, it's looking more and more likely that term 2 is going to be at home, so leave is going to be used up pretty quickly, plus it just encourages people to work sick or stressed.

#9 Orangecake

Posted 30 March 2020 - 09:32 AM

Thanks everyone.
StoneFoxArrow, I'm very confused by the essential worker meaning. The PM said it's everyone with a job, school have been very careful to say it's only those that are attending workplace in person to perform essential work. They will be offering basic supervision only in the school hall, all grades clustered together.

#10 mandala

Posted 30 March 2020 - 12:22 PM

We're working from home, and the official word is that we can work flexibly, take leave, half days etc for caring responsibilities. But the exec in my area has been clear that they know it's going to be a challenge and to just do our best, calling it out with management if there are real challenges getting stuff done.

A bigger concern currently is people working too much. We're in ICT and it's frantic. Burn out is likely at this rate.

#11 flakyfish

Posted 30 March 2020 - 12:41 PM

View PostOrangecake, on 30 March 2020 - 09:32 AM, said:

Thanks everyone.
StoneFoxArrow, I'm very confused by the essential worker meaning. The PM said it's everyone with a job, school have been very careful to say it's only those that are attending workplace in person to perform essential work. They will be offering basic supervision only in the school hall, all grades clustered together.

Several people at work (federal government department) were complaining that their kids' schools were refusing to take them, as they are not essential workers (which they consider nurses, doctors, etc). So the department has provided a letter stating that everyone who works for the department is an essential worker and that the schools have to accept their kids. Haven't heard if anyone has tried the letter and what the response was.

#12 Ruby2Shoes

Posted 30 March 2020 - 01:15 PM

Unbelievably lucky in my workplace. We all have kids, we're all in the same boat. We're all just doing our best and the boss is happy with that. We have had to provide estimates of how affected we'll be (who honestly knows) but we are supported 100% and as long as the work gets done no one cares if there are kids in the background of our video calls etc.

#13 CrankyM

Posted 30 March 2020 - 01:32 PM

Well mine is fairly flexible. I think the official line is different but I currently have a kid in the office with me. The other is home. I have 1/3 of my hours set up to work at home as of tomorrow. Kids will be there and hopefully not too irritating. (Kid in the office is annoying me).

#14 shellymabelly

Posted 30 March 2020 - 01:44 PM

Federal government department here. As our schools are not technically closed (ie. open to essential worker's kids) I am forced to use my annual leave instead of accessing carers leave. Yet school says they are only open for children of health care workers and emergency services.

The department, despite what the PM is saying, won't allow anyone to work from home Hypocrisy at it's finest.

#15 yummymummycakes

Posted 30 March 2020 - 01:51 PM

My Director is happy with me working from home - and doesn't care when things get done - as long as they are done.

Phone calls I try to schedule for the morning when DD 13 seems to be in a better mood and not as noisy although people are getting used to hearing her.

Am so looking forward to this being over and going back to an office for a holiday!

#16 Popper

Posted 30 March 2020 - 02:02 PM

I am hanging for schools to close in NSW so I can start carer's leave. I have substantial leave available and working while homeschooling is not fun.

I only work two days a week so I have no idea how couples who both work FT are going to handle this.

Kids get half of me. Work gets half of me. It is unsustainable and stressful. This is even with a very supportive DH who is taking over homeschooling 1 of my work days.

Today I started at 6am to get 3 hours of quality work in before my morning telecon and starting homeschool.

I finished homeschooling 1.30pm today. DH took over for an hour in the middle of the day so I could provide coaching over the phone without interruption.

I know a lot of people have it worse but this is my little world right now and it doesn't feel good to be pulled so thin.

#17 StoneFoxArrow

Posted 30 March 2020 - 02:14 PM

View PostOrangecake, on 30 March 2020 - 09:32 AM, said:

Thanks everyone.
StoneFoxArrow, I'm very confused by the essential worker meaning. The PM said it's everyone with a job, school have been very careful to say it's only those that are attending workplace in person to perform essential work. They will be offering basic supervision only in the school hall, all grades clustered together.

I'm confused too. To me, an "essential worker" is one who keeps:

Necessary supply chains running; or
People safe/alive.

That's about it. There are great things that the public service do, that are necessary and important when we're not in a crisis. There are other things that the public service do, like provide welfare and housing, when we are in a crisis. Not every public servant fits into that category, so I just can't agree with the definition of  "essential workers" meaning all public servants across the board.

#18 Zippypeaks

Posted 30 March 2020 - 02:33 PM

View PostStoneFoxArrow, on 30 March 2020 - 02:14 PM, said:



I'm confused too. To me, an "essential worker" is one who keeps:

Necessary supply chains running; or
People safe/alive.

That's about it. There are great things that the public service do, that are necessary and important when we're not in a crisis. There are other things that the public service do, like provide welfare and housing, when we are in a crisis. Not every public servant fits into that category, so I just can't agree with the definition of  "essential workers" meaning all public servants across the board.

That would be an essential worker from a pubic health perspective. We're facing a health and economic crisis. Anyone with a job, who can conduct their job in this current climate is essential, because their ability to earn an income will help keep the economy floating and takes the pressure off in terms of government handouts. Working and earning a wage, regardless of what that role is, at home or at the workplace, is essential to the country at the moment.

#19 BornToLove

Posted 30 March 2020 - 02:50 PM

My employer has been mostly supportive. Basically I need to show I can get work done, but when is up to me (ie can work outside of core business hours).

Right now DH and I are tag teaming care of DD (10) with our jobs. I try to schedule all my meetings in the mornings, DH has his in the afternoon. Any overlap, we have been giving DD busy work such as worksheets, reading or light chores. I finish up any pressing work after dinner or after DD is in bed.

#20 Lifesgood

Posted 30 March 2020 - 02:58 PM

My employer has asked everyone to WFH and try to juggle caring/schooling responsibilities. They have budgeted unofficially for a 20% decrease in productivity. We can also take any leave we want to - annual leave, LSL, sick/carers leave, unpaid leave. If we have to isolate there is special leave of 2 weeks.

I have about 8 months sick leave accrued so I could in theory use that, but I won't need to. I'm getting my head around WFH plus having the kids around.

#21 happygoluckyinoz

Posted 30 March 2020 - 03:05 PM

My employer hasn't said anything about taking leave whilst the kids are home. I'm working full time at home, have both boys (4.5 and 2) at home with me as well so other than keeping an eye on emails coming in I don't have a lot of time in the day to get much done. I am carving out a couple of hours in the afternoon whilst DS2 naps and DS1 watches TV and then once DH gets home at 5 I will work in the evenings if needed.

I'm feeling very fortunate to work for an organisation that is just happy the work is done and seems to realise the reality of the situation for so many at the moment!

#22 Jennifaraway

Posted 30 March 2020 - 03:24 PM

DH is in an essential service, but he's working from home and isn't always busy. I work part-time and already from home (most of the team is in another city), and it was okay last week - because we sent DD4yo to daycare on my full work days and DS7 did something school-like on his laptop. If daycare closes then I'll have trouble doing any work. But if schools and daycare officially close then I guess I'll have to take leave.

I think my work's official stance is that if you have to look after kids, then you should take leave. I think we can use personal leave, but it's not clear (I have over 300 hours of that!). But my department has heaps of people with younger kids, and unofficially we've been told to just we do our best. We're also all set up relatively well for working remotely anyway (and we just moved to GSuite this year, which means email and meetings are all cloud-based already). As long as our work is done it shouldn't really matter anyway.

Fortunately DH had already booked a week's leave plus two rostered days off over my work's busiest time in April. So I ought to be able to just work on those days (I'm thinking it won't work out quite like that).

#23 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 30 March 2020 - 03:28 PM

My employer has provided all employes with an additional 2 weeks of "COVID leave" to be used in whatever way the employee needs to re-adjust their working circumstances. For many of the people I know, they are using it to lessen their working day by 2-3 hours each day while they have kids at home with them. Once that expires, people will have to use up annual leave etc.

Also, many people can work from home, so my employer has done a lot to facilitate this to happen. in which case supervisors are generally granting a lot of flexibility to work hours (don't care when/how you get work done, and are being bit more relaxed about deadlines etc)

However, I am also very aware that my employer is not in the majority. DH's employer is still insisting that everyone go into the office, business as usual.

My kids are 11 and 13, so much easier to organise with schooling etc.

#24 laridae

Posted 30 March 2020 - 03:40 PM

View PostStoneFoxArrow, on 30 March 2020 - 02:14 PM, said:



I'm confused too. To me, an "essential worker" is one who keeps:

Necessary supply chains running; or
People safe/alive.

That's about it. There are great things that the public service do, that are necessary and important when we're not in a crisis. There are other things that the public service do, like provide welfare and housing, when we are in a crisis. Not every public servant fits into that category, so I just can't agree with the definition of  "essential workers" meaning all public servants across the board.

A lot of the behind the scenes workers in the health department are also pretty essential,  just to keep the place running.

Managing work from home with 2 kids at the moment (not full time though) - they are entertaining themselves, DH has taken long service leave for the next month (starting next week) to try and sort them out.
My work said parents who need to care for kids and cannot work from home can take carers leave. Those that can work from home should.
During school holidays normal arrangements apply (use annual or long service leave). Don't know what will happen next term.

#25 SeaPrincess

Posted 30 March 2020 - 03:40 PM

I’m casual and my employer is honouring all contracted hours, so I’ll be paid until the end of the semester. I will be involved in reworking some assessments and marking, but no contact.

I have a couple of friends in WA government roles who could easily do their jobs from home but are being told to continue coming to the office. One was told her presence was required in the office after she took her DD out of school 2 weeks ago because a child had returned from overseas before the cut off and wasn’t isolating.




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