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Follow-Up: Work Flexibility for Parent Employees

Follow-Up: Work Flexibility for Parent Employees

August 20, 2020

The university recently asked for employees’ ideas and distributed a survey seeking how to help fellow employees who have school-age children and who may be experiencing difficulty working on campus while children at home are participating in online instructional learning.


Exploring Ideas

University leadership continues to carefully explore scenarios to help parent employees of school-age children. While the goal is to help our parent employees, it is critically important to develop solutions that are effective, practical, continue to follow social distancing guidelines, and allow us to meet our business and operational needs. We have included some resources that may be helpful to employee parents now. Additional options for assistance will be presented as new information becomes available.

Telecommuting Is Still Encouraged

As mentioned in previous communications, telecommuting is still strongly encouraged for positions that meet criteria for remote work, as determined by departmental leadership. Supervisors should be flexible with their employees’ schedules whenever possible, including with flexible hours or shift changes. Telecommuting information can be found here.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The FFCRA allows for Emergency Family Leave in certain circumstances and Emergency Paid Leave for people affected by COVID-19. Staff and faculty who are advised to self-isolate from campus, test positive for COVID-19, or need to be off work to care for children may be eligible for up to 80 hours of emergency PTO or Expanded FMLA of up to 400 hours under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). For more information on COVID Leave and Expanded FMLA, visit the FFCRA webpage.

Resources for OU Families

If you’ve lost your day care or recently enrolled your child(ren) or family member in day care, you may have experienced a qualifying life event which would allow you to start or make changes to a dependent day care account. A Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) provides an opportunity for savings on dependent day care expenses using pre-tax dollars. You can spend your dependent day care savings account funds on childcare expenses. Some of the expenses covered include child day care, before and after-school programs, and sick child care. For more information about who qualifies as a dependent, please contact

The Magellan EAP, OU’s Employee Assistance Program, is a resource available to all university employees and it provides many helpful ideas for parents who are working to support their families and helping children with online learning. In addition, Work-Life Specialists can educate employees and refer qualified providers including child care centers, in-home child care, family day care homes, and more. Click here for informational flyers or call (800) 327-5043 for all Magellan EAP resources.

In addition to Magellan EAP, employees who are looking for alternative child care resources can contact Rainbow Fleet, a referral organization that offers up-to-date listings of family child care centers, before and after school care, and part-time, drop-in preschool programs.

It is also important to recognize that mental and physical well-being are especially important during a time like this, so making time for self-care and stress management is crucial. Magellan EAP offers a range of helpful information and tools, including virtual therapy services.

Looking for other community resources? 211 Heartline Community Resources offers crisis and helplines; financial assistance resources; help with housing, food, and clothing; physical and mental health services; and, more.

Flexibility and Patience Are Truly Important

During this stressful time, flexibility and patience are crucial. Every person’s situation is unique, and the university is committed to providing helpful resources to employees. Supervisors are still strongly encouraged to support employees with resources, solutions, understanding, and compassion.
If an employee or supervisor needs additional information and support, please contact the Human Resources Employee Relations team:

Norman campus contact: or (405)325-1826
OUHSC campus contact: or (405)271-2180
OU-Tulsa campus contact: or (918)660-3190

Questions? We’re Here to Help.

University leadership understands the challenges families may be encountering due to COVID-19 and wants to help however possible. Human Resources will continue to communicate as solutions are made available. Contact for more information.

About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit