Regarding the workplace, it’s important to remember that employees are people, too. They have lives outside work and may need help from time to time to maintain a healthy work-life balance or overcome financial struggles.
Employees who feel like they can’t come to work because they’re struggling with personal issues are less likely to be productive. Employers need to be understanding and lend a helping hand when needed.
Helping employees in their time of need is not only the right thing to do, but it can also be good for business. When employees feel supported by their employer, they’re more likely to be productive and stay with the company for the long haul.
That is the case when an employee cares for a child with autism. The challenges of parenting a child with autism can be overwhelming, and they often face the fact that most workplaces do not have designs with autistic children in mind.
Fortunately, there are a few things employers can do to support employees parenting children with autism.
Understanding the Challenges
Employers have to be understanding of their employees. It means that they have to help out when needed. When an employee has a child with autism, it can be challenging for them to take care of the child and go to work. Employers should try to understand what it is like for the employee and see if there is anything they can do to help the situation.
Employers can learn about children with autism by contacting local autism organizations or parent support groups. Many resources are available online and in print, and employers can also reach out to their local chapter of the Autism Society for more information.
Once you read through those resources, you can start to develop a plan to support your employee.
Being Flexible with Work Hours
Some employers may be able to offer flexible work schedules or telecommuting options to employees who have children with autism. It can help the employee balance their work and home life and make it easier for them to take their child to appointments or therapies.
If you can’t offer a flexible schedule, try understanding if the employee needs to leave work early for appointments or is working from home occasionally. Unfortunately, they might reach a point where they utilize pay leaves beyond the allowed amount. If possible, you can extend their pay leaves or offer ways to ensure that their absences do not result in unpaid days. They might need all the financial tools they can get to care for their child.
Providing Access to Resources and Support Groups
Employers who provide resources and support groups for employees parenting children with autism are making a valuable investment in their workforce. These resources can help employees manage the challenges of caring for a child with autism, leading to increased productivity and reduced turnover.
Resources and support groups can provide employees with information about autism and how to best care for their child. They can also provide a supportive community of parents facing similar challenges. It can be invaluable for employees struggling to cope with the demands of parenting a child with autism.
Partnering with autism therapist services might also be ideal. It can help connect your employees by helping out in one critical aspect that children with autism struggle with: development. It might only be one less thing that parents have to worry about, but it will be a helpful contribution to your employee.
Offering Financial Assistance
Many families struggling to care for a child with autism are also struggling financially. The costs of therapies, doctor’s appointments, and medication can be overwhelming. Employers can offer financial assistance to employees parenting children with autism through programs like health savings or flexible spending accounts.
These programs allow employees to set aside pre-tax dollars to cover qualified expenses related to their child care. The funds can be for various costs, including therapies, doctor’s appointments, and medications.
Employers can also offer other financial assistance, like grants or scholarships. These can help employees cover the costs of therapies, treatments, and different needs related to their child’s autism.
Making Workplaces Autism-Friendly
Some companies are making an effort to make their workplaces more autism-friendly. Employers can do a few things to make their workplace more accommodating for employees parenting children with autism.
Some companies are designating “quiet rooms” where parents can take their children to have a break from the stimulation of the work environment. These rooms can provide a calm space for the child and give the parent a break from work.
Other companies are offering training to their employees on how to interact with coworkers who have children with autism. This training can help employees understand their coworkers’ challenges and how to support them best.
It will be challenging for employees to take care of a child with autism, making any assistance on your part as an employer significant. It will be necessary to be patient with your employee as they learn how to manage their work-life balance with their child’s needs. By taking these steps, you can show your employees that you support them and their families.