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COVID-19, Family First Coronavirus Response Act, Money management, personal finance

Pandemic Parents Ask: Should I Quit my Job to Homeschool my Kids?

On Behalf of Veitengruber Law | Sep 23,2020

As kids start back to school this month, NJ families are grappling with how to adjust to the changes many school districts are making in response to the pandemic. Parents are trying to balance work with their children’s virtual learning and even when children are attending school in person, adjusted schedules mean it can be difficult to find childcare. As more responsibility for education falls on parents, some are wondering if they should leave the work force in order to care for their children. Are you financially prepared to take this step? Answer the following questions to help you decide. 1. Are You Eligible for Paid Leave? Taking a leave of absence might buy you the time you need to care for your children while maintaining employment. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes provisions allowing parents to take 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a child if their regular child care provider is not available because of the pandemic. Leave can be intermittent or all at once as long as it is before the end of the year. This paid leave only provides two-thirds of your salary and is only applicable to: (1) employees of public entities or private companies with more than 500 employees, (2) employees that have been working for at least 30 days, and (3) employees that are unable to work remotely. If you do not qualify for paid leave under the Families First act, consider talking to your boss to see if they can accommodate your new parenting reality. You may be surprised by their response! 2. Is it Possible for You to Work from Home? Many Americans are already working from home all or part of the time in order to comply with rules regarding social distancing as the coronavirus pandemic stretches on. Even if you think you wouldn't be able to effectively do your job from home, it's still worth checking into. Businesses all over the world have had to change the way work gets done, and right now flexibility is key to success. Be prepared with helpful suggestions when you approach your superior(s) with this request. The easier you make the transition for them, the better your chances are of getting approved for telework. 3. Can You Adjust Your Hours? If you aren't eligible for paid leave, it may be possible to change your working hours. Depending on your job, you may be able to shift your work hours to maximize your time at home during school hours. Another viable option may be working opposite hours of your parenting partner, if you have one, allowing you both to focus on your children when they need you. 4. Can Your Family Survive With Less Income? If you decide that cutting back your hours or leaving the workforce entirely is the right choice for you, think about how this reduced income will affect your family. Determine what your essential expenses are, and compare that number to your family's lower income with you not working. If you can match the expenses, perfect! If not, you may need to look for alternative, part-time work that you CAN do from home (see #5). 5. Can You Find More Flexible Work? If you do need to supplement a spouse’s income in the event that you leave your job, it is important to know ahead of time how you will bring in extra money. Virtual learning itself has created the need for online tutoring and mentors. Childcare jobs are also abundant due to daycares and after school programs being canceled. If you have other marketable skills, you can try freelancing. There are many grocery and food delivery services being offered right now that would allow you to work weekends or nights. Families across NJ are facing new and challenging obstacles this school year. If you are concerned about how to balance your child’s academic success with your financial security, you’re not alone. Under the guidance of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, you have options to help prevent you from going into debt in order to care for your children.

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