Children at home due to infection in class: a disaster for some parents

“I don’t even dare to ask you to take time off because your children have to stay at home, because I already know the answer,” says Dana. “Colleagues have sometimes made an attempt, but they were told ‘no’.”

Work pressure is already so high

Dana works as a pedagogical employee at a daycare center and many of her colleagues are sick, which increases the workload for her and the colleagues who are not sick.

Dana is now completely stuck. “It is not possible to take unpaid leave and I no longer have holidays.”

Lots of puzzles and less income

That recently caused a lot of puzzling for Dana and her husband. Their 9-year-old daughter had to be quarantined at home because classmates had tested positive for corona. But Dana’s husband can’t actually stay at home either. He is self-employed and the work he does cannot be done from home.

In the end he stayed home for their daughter and for their 6-year-old son. “Because you can’t leave children alone all day.” But the fact that Dana’s husband stayed at home does cause other concerns, because it leads to less income for him, according to Dana.

Sending the children home is a problem for many more freelancers, agrees Cristel van de Ven, chairman of VZN, the Association of Self-employed in the Netherlands. That is the umbrella organization of a number of advocates for self-employed persons in the Netherlands. “If you are self-employed and work outside the door, you can take time off, but you have no income.”

Work in home care with corona

But even if you have a permanent job, it can be very difficult to arrange something, says Cindy (not her real name). She worked in home care and her 5-year-old son developed a high fever during the night. She couldn’t take him to the shelter because of the fever and there was no other solution.

Both her parents and her sister are at home with corona and because she has just moved, she doesn’t know that many people she can ask for help.

‘Now another job’

Cindy didn’t want to leave her kid alone all day, so she told her she couldn’t come at work. In addition, she did not want to go to her vulnerable home care clients in connection with the possibility that her son had corona.

Still, Cindy’s boss expected her to come to work or she wouldn’t have to come back. “If you have a job, you know that children can get sick,” she was told by her supervisor. In other words: you only arrange something. The same day, Cindy’s son was found to have corona. She now has another job, with a different employer.

‘You also want some peace and quiet for yourself’

But even if you can arrange that you can work from home in consultation with your employer, if the work permits of course, it is still difficult to keep all the balls in the air, says Inge Sluiter.

She and her husband have two children, aged 4 and 7. “So they now have to stay at home with every snot and they have to be tested at the GGD”. Inge can work from home, but her husband cannot, because he is a service technician.

“Everything comes down to me and I can squeeze in all corners to work sufficiently,” says Inge. “But go and work with 2 children aged 4 and 7 at home, who are quite busy together, so that is impossible.” Her boss is lenient and says she is fine with working at night if necessary. “But you also want to create peace for yourself every now and then,” says Inge.

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