Coronavirus concerns have prompted school districts across the U.S. to forgo in-person classes in favor of virtual learning, and hourly workers expect to take an economic hit as a result.
Nearly 90% of hourly workers believe they’ll lose income this fall if their children have to be taught at home, according to a survey by Branch, which offers digital wallets for workers.
While entire households would feel burdened, women may bear the brunt of its impact.
Virtual learning likely to be the norm
More than three-fourths of hourly workers (76.6%) said their children will engage in some form of remote learning this fall:
- 47.2% said their children will learn remotely full time
- 29.4% said their children will participate in a combination of remote learning and in-person instruction
As a result, parents may have to adjust their schedules and routines to help their children get their educational needs met. In fact, nearly half of parents (48.4%) said they expect their performance at work to be negatively impacted if their children must participate in virtual learning. In addition, around a quarter (25.3%) said their work may be negatively impacted.
When asked how their work would suffer:
- 67.6% said they’ll have to cut down on their hours or number of shifts
- 19.8% said they won’t be able to complete job responsibilities
- 8.4% said they’ll likely be considered first for potential layoffs
- 4.3% said the situation will likely cost them a promotion
Family finances would also suffer, most respondents said. When asked what percentage of household income they expected to lose this fall because their children were learning virtually or they had no child care:
- 3.2% said 100%
- 13.3% said 75%
- 30.6% said 50%
- 30.2% said 25%
- 10.8% said 10%
Only 11.9% of respondents believed virtual learning wouldn’t cost them any household income.
Women expected to take on the most responsibility
Women have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic. One recent survey found that women were experiencing anxiety more than men, while another pointed out that they were more likely to experience loneliness during the COVID-19 outbreaks.
According to the Branch survey, women are also more likely to have to deal with any challenges that arise with virtual learning.
A majority of hourly workers (61.5%) said the mother would have the most responsibilities when it comes to ensuring that remote learning takes place effectively. In comparison:
- 16.7% expected the father to take the lead
- 3.9% expected a family friend to take the lead
- 0.8% expected a neighbor to take the lead
Most women would also be willing to take extreme measures to make sure their children had their educational needs met. Of the 70.8% of respondents who stated that they would quit their jobs to oversee virtual learning in their household if required, 83% were women. Only 50.2% of men said they’d do the same.
Few hourly workers reported receiving help from their employers when it comes to balancing work duties with personal responsibilities. Nearly two-thirds (66.3%) stated they hadn’t received any of the forms of assistance listed in the survey. However, a quarter of respondents (25.6%) said they’ve been given flexible work hours, and 5.2% said they’ve been given extra paid time off.
Methodology: Branch surveyed more than 2,000 hourly employees with children across multiple industries in August and September 2020.