Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Should You Tell Your Work If You Have a Child with Special Needs?

Sunday's Boston Globe featured an article titled "A Parental Juggling Job: Workplace Stigmas Add to Struggles of People with Disabled Children." If you're a parent raising a child with special needs, it makes sense to tell your boss and work colleagues, right? Maybe, but maybe not.

In a survey of 400 parents, "27 percent of parents caring for children with serious emotional and behavioral disorders have been terminated because of related work disruptions....Because of the demands of care, nearly half of the parents had to quit a job to care for their children, and 11 percent couldn't find work."

And that's not all: "While such parents tend to face greater stigma than those whose children have physical disabilities, both groups often have difficulties finding and keeping work because of their child's condition....More than a fifth of families raising children with disabilities live in poverty, compared with nearly 13 percent of families raising children without a disability, US Census data show."

I don't know if there's a legislative solution to this -- it's more about understanding and accommodation for good employees, but I guess the ability to offer that flexibility differs depending on the industry.
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