How Working Parents Can Request a More Flexible Schedule

by David Sprinkle

Managing Partner, David Sprinkle, was on Fox 35 Good Day Orlando today discussing how working parents can request a more flexible schedule.


Some companies are starting to require their employees to come back to the office and many working parents don’t have the ability to go back to their in-person work routines because of childcare issues.

A recent survey by the US Chamber Foundation found that almost half of working parents are now working remotely, an that 75% of working parents currently have children staying at home with a parent during work hours.  Two-thirds of parents have changed their childcare arrangement due to COVID-1 and 60% of parents surveyed said they will need to change their current childcare arrangement within the next year.

Unfortunately, not all jobs can be work-from-home (WFH) jobs, and many of the hourly low-income jobs are positions that require the employee to be in-person.

Whether you are WFH or in-person, many parents are looking at working a flex schedule to help balance childcare and work.  The main tip on how to approach your employer for a flexible schedule is the Steven Covey principal “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”.  It is always better to approach your manager with a solution to their problems before you ask them to solve your own.  How will a flexible schedule benefit the employer and what potential business issues might arise, and how can you help mitigate those issues?

Approach your direct manager first and be specific about what you are asking for and explain how you will accomplish your goals and what your plan would be.  If your manager is not receptive or reasonable, go up the chain of leadership and include HR.

What about the Families First Coronavirus REsponse Act (FFCRA)?  If you are caring for a child and you are unable to work as a result, you may be eligible for leave under the FFCRA (80 hours of paid sick leave and ten weeks of expanded family medical leave).  Your employer must be under 500 employees and over 50 employees for you to be eligible for this leave.  FFCRA kicks in if an employee is caring for a child if the school or place of care for the child is closed because of COVID.  However, if the school is open and you chose to keep your child home in distance learning, you may not be eligible to take time off under the FFCRA, with the exception being if your doctor advises that your child not go back to in-person learning due to a underlying condition (like auto-immune disease).

So, do your homework on your options between WFH, working alternate hours with spouse, working less hours, work outside of normal business hours, taking paid leave, taking unpaid leave, or looking for a new opportunity.