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Child care benefit helps Providence caregivers manage life and work during pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot was asked of health care workers. With the increase in workload, the addition of social distancing and the impact on home life, Providence added a number of benefits to help ease the way of our caregivers. One of those benefits is backup child care. We sat down with Akia Lewis, one of our caregivers using that benefit, to learn more about how it has impacted her work life and family life.

Providence: Akia, can you tell us about your role at Providence?
Akia: Thank you for asking me to talk about benefits during COVID-19. I work with Providence in Oregon as an associate project manager. In my role, I manage projects by planning, executing and closing them. As a project manager, another part of my job is to manage project teams by facilitating engagement, commitment, communication, productivity, collaboration, etc.

Providence: How has COVID-19 impacted your work-life balance?
Akia: COVID-19 really made work-life balance much harder to attain. It changed everyone’s lives greatly and quickly. For me, it was a strain because I had the addition of child care needs added as well. Having the backup care has made it much more achievable though.

Providence: Tell us about your family and the care needs you have.
Akia: My child is a first grader and before COVID-19, she attended school Monday through Friday, but with school closures, she is now doing distance learning. That means she’s at home, with me, trying to keep up with studies while I’m trying to keep up with work.

Providence: How has this benefit made a difference for you?
Akia: During this pandemic, Providence offering backup care and crisis care to ensure myself and other caregivers can continue working has made a huge difference. Additionally, Providence offered a reimbursement incentive which helped to prevent financial hardship. I don’t think a lot of organizations are doing this level of assistance for their employees and I know it makes a difference for a lot of people.

Providence: How easy was the backup care benefit to access and use?
Akia: Accessing the backup care benefit was easy to navigate. To be honest though, having the video tutorial made it a lot easier. Having everything in one place, on one website, to access all of the benefits we have right now to get us through this time makes it easier to not just see what they are, but to find them and use them. Once I got into it and ready to go, it was really easy to use. It was also great that I felt so confident in the care being provided.

Providence: Without the backup care benefit, how would you have been able to care for your family?
Akia: I would have provided the care while working remotely. That would not have been a great situation for my child, myself or my work situation. When you have to wear more than one hat, it’s always hard to do it all well.

Providence: How satisfied are you that Providence offered these benefits to caregivers during the COVID crisis?
Akia: I would say I’m very satisfied. In fact, if it was a scale of one to ten, I’d rate my satisfaction at a full ten. I feel very fortunate to have had access to this special benefit. In fact, I will be recommending it to other caregivers who are in a similar situation.

Providence: Any last thoughts?
Akia: I just want to say that I value the way our organization stepped up right now. Providence eased my way during this hard time by providing me access to back up care and offering financial assistance for this benefit. I really appreciate it.