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Q&A: Can we require employees to have childcare if they work from home?

We do not recommend having a policy that stipulates childcare is necessary. For one thing, in practice, it often isn’t necessary. Lots of employees are able to do their jobs just fine while supervising children in the home. Imposing this requirement (and a huge financial burden) won’t solve any problems, but it may encourage remote employees to start looking for a new job. Even in cases where supervising children does negatively affect job performance, mandating childcare as a solution could be seen as crossing a line into your employees’ personal lives.

Instead, we recommend setting clear expectations for attendance, availability, performance, and productivity. You can then discipline employees who don’t meet these expectations without giving the impression that you’re micromanaging their personal lives.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that employee expectations around remote work have changed. People choose remote work with the idea that they’ll have more flexibility during the day to attend to their personal responsibilities. If that flexibility isn’t an option, it’s important to make that clear so employees know what to expect.

Answer from Kyle, PHR:

Kyle is a professional author, editor, and researcher specializing in workplace culture, retention strategies, and employee engagement. He has previously worked with book publishers, educational institutions, magazines, news and opinion websites, nationally-known business leaders, and non-profit organizations. He has a BA in English, an MA in philosophy, and a PHR certification.

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