As COVID-19 continues sweeping the U.S., vulnerable groups highly exposed to the virus. The higher number of working single moms and rapid closure of schools and daycare centers makes the situation worse. The U.S. reports a higher number of children coming from single mom headed households in the world. According to 2019 US Census Bureau data, 80% of single-parent families are led by single moms. Find out more at https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2019/demo/families/cps-2019.html. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone, single moms are facing additional challenges. Being the only caregiver during quarantine means no breaks because childcare support is unavailable.
USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
USDA makes it easy for single moms to access food so that they can feed their kids during the COVID-19 outbreak. This is in line with USDA's commitment to ensure Americans are safe, secure, and healthy during the pandemic. The department also works to ensure kids are fed during this time of uncertainty.
Normally, USDA allows children to be present to receive meals through USDA’s child nutrition programs. https://www.fns.usda.gov/programs shows the nutrition programs provided by USDA. However, the department recognizes that this is not possible due to the situation created by the Covid-19 pandemic and therefore gives states the option to allow single moms to take meals home for their kids.
Temporary Mortgage Relief Due to Coronavirus Pandemic
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, single moms with federally backed mortgages are protected. Lenders are ordered not to foreclose on single moms having pending loans until August 31, 2020. Moreover, single moms experiencing financial hardship due to Covid-19 may request forbearance for up to 180 days. Visit https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/mortgage-and-housing-assistance/mortgage-relief/ for more information.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL)
In response to COVID-19 pandemic, single moms with small businesses in all U.S. states can apply for an economic injury disaster loan through U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The loan program is meant to assist single moms whose businesses are undergoing loss of revenue due to Covid-19. Find out more at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19.
Temporary Rental Relief for Single Moms Affected By COVID-19
Temporary rental relief was provided to Single moms residing in federally backed rental houses in the form of an eviction moratorium. Find out more about eviction moratorium at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/mortgage-and-housing-assistance/renter-protections/. Landlords are not allowed to charge single moms in such houses for late payments for rent owed from March 27 – July 24.
How Employers Can Support Working Single Moms Amid Covid-19 Outbreak?
By giving working single moms the support, they need, caring for their children becomes easier. Here are ways in which employers can support working single moms:
Assess whether the workplace policies support single moms effectively. As an employer of a single mom, are the current policies at your workplace support single moms? This is where family-friendly policies such as paid sick leave, come in. identifying the needs of single moms that are so demanding now that coronavirus struck the world. You can then modify your policies to cater for such needs.
Grant Single Moms Flexible Work Arrangements
With children stuck at home due to the pandemic, single moms have even more responsibilities. Employers need to understand how hard the pandemic has affected single mothers. Granting flexible work arrangements give single moms freedom of when and where they can carry out their official duties. It also supports single mothers in caring for their kids. Flexible work arrangements can include long leaves to enable single moms to spend quality time with their kids. It also includes enabling single moms to work from home and maybe reducing the number of days they have to attend work in a week.
Support Single Moms with Accessible, Affordable and Quality Childcare Options
Most single moms are facing difficulties in accessing childcare since schools and daycare centers have closed down. Sometimes they are forced to leave their young kids with very limited supervision. We both know that actions like this compromise the kids’ safety. Employers can support single moms having difficulties caring for their kids and handling other responsibilities as well. Employers can give support through connecting working single moms to childcare referral systems. They should however ensure that they are referred to places where childcare is available and safe. Employers can also give support through subsidies and allowing single moms to work from home.
Single moms are experiencing the most difficult moments as a result of COVID-19. They need support ranging from relief programs to assistance from businesses to help them combat impacts brought about by COVID-19. Thanks to the U.S. Government for support to single moms in the form of food, temporary mortgage, temporary rental as well as loan programs. Since we don't know how long this worrying situation is going to last, more should be done in ensuring single moms and their kids are safe.