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Why Women Are Quitting Work (& how employers can avoid it)

The pandemic has uprooted nearly every area of life for millions of Americans and caused many professionals to add homeschool support and/or full-time caregiver to their already full plates. Many households were stretched past their limit, and many employees were forced to choose between their jobs and being available to care for their children or other household members. 

More often than not, the employees giving up their jobs are women. According to the Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve, 1 in 5 working age adults is unemployed because COVID-19 upended their childcare arrangements. Women are nearly three times more likely than men to quit their jobs to care for others. If companies do not intervene to support their working parents, this trend will continue and may end up exacerbating gender inequality in the workplace and changing the future of the U.S. job market forever.  

Below, we share several ways employers can help support and retain working women.  


Child Educational Support 

Some companies have stepped up to provide additional resources and benefits to support working parents with school-aged children. This includes anything from allowing a leave of absence for a parent needing time to adjust or time to look for alternate childcare options, to providing a stipend for educational materials for children. Stipends may be able to be used for technology their children need or paying for virtual learning experiences such as ABC Mouse or Kahn Academy Kids 

Some companies have implemented a unique way of combining education for employees’ children while helping give new graduates experience in their field of study. They’ve hired college graduates who are still looking for full time work to host virtual classes and tutoring sessions, ranging from coding to guitar.   

Some parents have decided to organize children within the same class into small pods to study together. These children do their eLearning days together, and parents can share the cost of hiring tutoring help if needed. Companies may consider helping connect parents or providing a stipend for tutoring. 

Time Flexibility 

One of the most needed accommodations for working parents is flexible schedules. Whether an employee is working from home or is expected to go into the office, parents of young children will need certain hours of the day to be home and supervising their child through eLearning and homework. The timing of when and how long the employee needs to be available for their child will vary, but it’likely the child’s schedule will end up dictating when the parent will be unavailable 

For households with both parents working full time and sharing childcare responsibilities, some employees may be able to shift their schedules so they complement their partner, with one parent available for the child when needed. This may mean employees work nontraditional hours or have long breaks in the middle of the day while still tackling a full workload.  

Many companies are offering working parents a reduced workload or reduced hours, depending on their needs. This may be offloading certain responsibilities from the employee or reducing the employee to part time. Some companies have given parents an option to job share with another employee, allowing both to work part time to perform a job typically held by one person 

For employees already working from home, consider not scheduling meetings during the lunch hour in order to allow parents to have lunch with their kids. Discuss with the employee if there are additional blocks of time during their day that they are unable to be online and adjust as much as possible.  



Communicate with employees each week about their schedules and help them plan out how they will be able to accomplish their tasks. Make this an ongoing conversation by having managers actively check in to ask if certain meetings or tasks will still work for the employee ahead of time to avoid scheduling blunders. 

Communicate also with team members of working parents to let them know if and how their work has changed. In some cases, other team members will need to take on additional responsibilities in order to support parents who are unable to pull their full weight at this time. Communicating these changes clearly with employees will be necessary to avoid animosity within teams.  

Unfortunately, there may be frustration on the part of employees without children or who are not taking accommodations. If other employees are expected to add additional work to their plates while others reduce their workload, consider adjusting incentives or job descriptions in order to best accommodate each person fairly. Ensure responsibilities are distributed in a way that is manageable for each member of the team and communicate clearly about each person’s responsibilities and expectations. 

In order to increase visibility and tangibly track each employees productivity, consider a project management tracker such as Trello or Asana. This can help managers point to exactly how much work is being done by each employee and keep track of projects for those who may not be working at the same time.  



While the pandemic continues to uproot many areas of American’s lives, the U.S. jobmarket is at a pivotal turning point. Parents who have held and loved their jobs for years are now being forced to leave in order to make sure their children and other family members are cared for and able to learn. This may have serious ramifications for the future of women in the workplace and for the talent pool as we lose a generation of working parents. Employees able to support working parents will need to be creative and flexible in order to retain their talent. 


Do you need temporary or part-time talent to help support your team? Let us help! Get connected here.