Close-up photo of a child playing with colorful toy blocks and a caregiver sitting next to her

CWRU offers K-4 child care support for faculty and staff

Clarification Regarding Child Care Initiatives:

Yesterday’s article in The Daily about options to assist faculty and staff with K-4 child care needs this semester included a section on workload flexibility. The options for staff included going part-time and maintaining full benefits; completing some of their required work hours on evenings and weekends; or a combination of both. While the expectation is that staff reducing work hours receive commensurately lower compensation, it was not stated explicitly.  

Options for reduced loads for faculty, meanwhile, included such choices as relief from specific responsibilities or course release. As in the description for staff options, the expectation is that faculty reducing their workloads also would receive commensurately lower compensation. In addition, the option of moving a fall course to spring no longer exists.

Administrative and academic units will continue to determine the respective processes for requesting such options.

Original article:

With university classes scheduled to begin Monday but Cuyahoga County school districts only offering remote instruction, Case Western Reserve is launching three initiatives to assist families facing fall child care challenges. 

Select benefits-eligible employees will be eligible for a one-time child care subsidy of up to $600, while all faculty and staff can request to reduce their workloads and/or reserve up to three hours of drop-in care at One to One and Next Level fitness centers.

“As much as we all hoped that progress against the pandemic would allow all students to return to classes this month,” Vice President for Human Resources Carolyn Gregory said, “the summer instead saw a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. These options reflect our attempt to help employees in balancing work and parenting obligations.”

While some details surrounding processes are still being finalized, Gregory said, university leaders wanted to inform the campus community right away that they had been approved. The options apply to children in kindergarten through fourth grades.

The measures emerged through collaborative efforts among leaders of the Faculty Parents of Young Children and Staff Advisory Council, as well as the offices of the president, provost, campus services, general counsel, and human resources. Faculty Parents of Young Children leader Maggie Popkin was among the first to raise the issue with administrators, catalyzing broader conversations. 

As part of those discussions, Provost Ben Vinson reallocated a portion of strategic plan funds to support the child care subsidy.

“Given the tremendous financial impact that COVID-19 continues to have on university resources,” Provost Vinson said, “the only way to support this important request was to reallocate existing funds. Providing these resources advances Pathway 4 of the Think Big strategic plan, which emphasizes campus culture.”

Support for Child Care Costs: This semester full-time benefits-eligible faculty and staff who are categorized as working at least half-time, and whose total university compensation (excluding benefits) is $100,000 or less are eligible for up to $600 for child care services provided during daytime hours. The funds can be used for care provided outside or within the home, and includes care provided by a family member. 

Families will need to document the use of funds for child care costs; the form to apply for the support will be posted on the human resources site by early next week.

Workload Flexibility for Staff and Faculty: With their supervisors’ approval, staff are permitted to move to part-time status while maintaining full benefits; to modify their work hours to include evenings and weekends rather than school hours; or to reduce and modify their hours simultaneously. With the support of their department or program chairs and/or dean, faculty may request to reduce course loads for this semester (while also slowing their tenure clock if needed), to move courses to the spring semester, and/or temporarily yield additional responsibilities for which they would receive compensation beyond their faculty salary. Academic and administrative units will determine the respective processes for requesting workload flexibility.

Limited campus child care by appointment: One to One Fitness Center and its Uptown studio, Next Level Fitness, are making arrangements to offer up to three hours of daytime child care services at either location. Fees for this service will be scaled by income: For those earning up to $50,000 a year, $4 an hour; for those earning between $50,001 and $99,999 a year, $7 an hour, and for those earning $100,000 or more $10 an hour. To accommodate physical distancing requirements, six is the maximum number of children allowed at either site. The university will update the campus community when this option becomes available.

Faculty and staff are eligible for this option whether or not they are participating in one or both of the other two initiatives.