Back-to-school uncertainty prompted these 2 employers to give parents new perks

Two U.S. banking giants are rolling out more benefits to parents juggling childcare and homeschooling while keeping the companies running through the pandemic.

Citigroup Inc. will offer employees discounts on test preparation and tutoring services as many continue to work from home while their kids start the new school year. Bank of America Corp. is extending backup childcare payments for staff with children as old as 12.

Workers at Citigroup can get help finding an educational caregiver to supervise their children’s online learning, Sara Wechter, the bank’s head of human resources, said on LinkedIn. If employees decide to try small-group learning at home, it can also help them find families and educators to join their pod.

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“I can’t believe it’s already time for back to school,” Wechter said in the post. “I know that I’m not alone feeling some anxiety around balancing work and my children’s education.”

The world’s largest employers have been grappling with how to help workers who remain at home to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. This fall, many employees will split daylight hours between doing their jobs and helping their children with school work as districts across the country stick with remote learning — so any aid companies provide may also help their own productivity.

At BofA, eligible employees can get daily childcare reimbursements of $75 or $100, depending on their compensation, while they’re working from home or in the office through Dec. 31. The bank is also providing online resources on finding childcare and virtual learning, and will help employees get access to discounted childcare and tutoring.

“It’s going to be a very fluid situation” for working parents, BofA’s Chief Human Resources Officer Sheri Bronstein said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “I had one of my own team say to me, ‘Gosh, I need a Ph.D to figure out when my four kids are going to school in the fall.’”

JPMorgan Chase & Co. still has about 150,000 people working remotely and is trying to be “very flexible” about that structure, Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon told CNN in an interview this week.

“We’re going to try to enhance childcare benefits, or let people know where the childcare is,” he said.

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