With concerns over Coronavirus, many schools have canceled classes with little notice and for an unknown period of time. Parents want to know their rights and options. Except for servicemembers, federal law isn’t currently interpreted to provide protection for workers who miss work due to lack of child care for their children. Although some states have additional protections, Nebraska does not. The laws could change to provide more protection in these uncertain times.
Coronavirus: What Do I Do If I Don’t Have Child Care & Schools Are Out?
Unless the employer closes, employees will generally have to use paid time off (PTO), such as vacation days, to stay home with children without child care. Some employers may also allow employees to miss work without pay, although this can be a compounding problem for parents without a lot of savings. You may want to check with your work’s employee manual to see if there are other options or protections provided by your employer. Your employer may offer options to work from home, but are not required by law to offer this.
No Full-Time Child Care
Where a parent may not have normally needed full-time child care during the school year, many parents are now faced with this need. A parent can apply for child care assistance through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services as a public assistance benefit. If the parent qualifies, they may be entitled to free or reduced-fee child care services.
With some child care providers closing their doors, some parents may be wondering if they can leave their children at home alone. Nebraska doesn’t have a specific age that a child is old enough to be left at home. That being said, a parent can be charged with child neglect if a child that is too young or too immature is left alone. Further, even an older child may not be mature enough to be safe alone.
From previous child neglect cases and guidelines by the Nebraska Department Health and Human Services, here are some general guidelines:
- Children under the age of 6 years old shouldn’t be left alone for any period of time.
- It is questionable as to what length of time if any, a child between 6 and 11 can be left home alone.
- Children under the age of 11 years old generally can’t watch younger children.
- Generally, but not always, teenagers can be left home alone.
With these guidelines in mind, parents who have children younger than the age of 12 or 13 years old should generally be looking for care, and some parents of children age 12 years of age and older should still consider finding care depending on the temperament and abilities of their child.
Law Office of Julie Fowler, PC, LLO | Divorce Lawyers Omaha
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If you are looking for an attorney in a child support case in Omaha, Nebraska or the surrounding areas (including Papillion, Bellevue, Gretna, Elkhorn, Lincoln, Nebraska City, Sarpy, Lancaster), contact our office to set up a consultation.
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