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13% Of Americans Forced To Quit Job Or Reduce Hours During Pandemic, Study Says

FILE: A sign advertising available retail space is seen on April 30, 2020 in the Meatpacking District in New York City. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A new study out of Northeastern University said 13 percent of Americans have had to quit their jobs or reduce hours in order to take care of their children during the coronavirus pandemic.

For many families, that isn’t an option.

As we look forward with uncertainty to the upcoming school year, there are steps officials said employers can be taking to alleviate their employees’ stress.

“We know people are dealing with a lot and it’s like the human side of employee-employer relationships that we don’t always like to acknowledge but it’s there,” said Anna Thomas, a senior policy analyst at Voices for Utah Children.

Thomas said businesses need to prioritize the health of employees — hourly and salaried — with paid sick leave and allowing people to work from home when they can.

“Everybody has this like patchwork of coverage for childcare between different spouses, jobs and family, getting sick themselves can totally throw all of that off. And so having to come to work sick or having to be around people that are sick, like, that’s actually one of the number one things that employers can do to alleviate some of the stress for their employees,” Thomas said.

And it’s not just parents feeling the strain.

Many people without children are also helping fill the gaps in various care roles among their families and friends.

Thomas also said business owners need to realize that this is the time to adjust earning goals. These changes will make improvements once the pandemic is over.

“All of these recommendations were recommendations that we were making before the coronavirus pandemic. They are best practices for families who were struggling with childcare and family stress and financial obligations before this situation.”


Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.

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