The Bottom Line: Survey shows impact of in-home school and childcare on Kentucky’s workforce

By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A survey of business leaders across the state in the wake of changes to schools and childcare due to the COVID-19 pandemic shows a large part of the state’s workforce have children under 18 and will have to teach from home when school starts back while working.

The survey, conducted by the Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management, was sent out with a goal of compiling information to help businesses across Kentucky and their employees during the pandemic. The survey is a real-time reflection and evaluation of how businesses are currently dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 351 individuals participated in the survey and responses came from employers in many industries including manufacturing (18%), professional services (17%), non-profit (13%), health care (10%), education/government (10%), retail (6%), and others including construction, transportation, hospitality, utilities, and more.

The following results reflect feedback from employers across Kentucky from July 24-31, 2020.

  • 92% of these employers (321 respondents) said they have employees with children under the age of 18
  • Currently, 37% (131 respondents) have zero people working remotely
  • In terms of what percentage of the workforce will have children needing to do NTI days this fall, 31% said at least 25% of their employees will be teaching their kids from home. Only 5% said they will have 100% of their workforce doing this and 10.5% will not have any doing NTI. Around 11% were not sure.
  • 63% of respondents said they have not had any employees leave the workforce due to childcare need whereas 31% said they had employees leave because of childcare
  • Similarly, 71% said they have not had any employees leave the workforce because they’re having to provide in-home education for their children but 20% (69 respondents) said they had seen that issue lead to people leaving their company.
  • When asked how significant the impact of COVID-19 and school at home has had on their organization, the largest percentage of respondents said they have seen some impact (41%) and significant impact (35%). Only 6% saw no impact from these issues and 3% were neutral. 13% said they saw very little impact.

In terms of what those impacts look like, organizations said they have seen reduced hours for current staff (35%), altered business hours (30%), and a need for additional staff (24%). The majority (45%) said they had seen “other” impacts including needing far more flexible hours, seeing unhappy and stressed employees, modification of work requirements, significant drop off in business and reduction in staff productivity, struggle to get work done because they cannot replace employees missing work due to FMLA, and other similar concerns.

Beshear announced Monday, Aug. 10 he was recommending all Kentucky schools delay in-person learning until Sept. 28. This survey was conducted before that recommendation.