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Request Proof of Child Care

May a company require a telecommuting employee provide proof of child care during working hours?

Many companies do have this requirement, although you should be cautious about implementing it. There is no law that specifically prohibits you from requiring proof of childcare from every employee who telecommutes. However, you need to exercise caution to keep from committing illegal discrimination.

There are two opposing problems here. As an employer, if you permit telecommuting, you have every right to expect that your employees will be giving their full attention to the job and not providing childcare to their offspring at the same time. Many parents mistakenly assume they can watch the kids and work at the same time. Usually this is not true and employees are much less productive with such distractions.

One problem with requiring proof of childcare is that you are treating employees who are parents differently from employees who are not parents. In some states this would be legal, but other states prohibit it as illegal discrimination based on parental status.

The biggest pitfall would be if you required mothers to provide proof of childcare but not fathers who telecommute. It is sexist to require that mothers provide proof of childcare but not require it of fathers. It is also illegal discrimination based on sex. Even if both parents are at home all day, you cannot assume that the mother is responsible for childcare and the father is focusing on work.

Many employers do require proof of childcare from every employee who telecommutes and has children under the age of 5.

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This entry was posted on Monday, October 10th, 2011 at 6:20 am and is filed under
Hiring and Staffing.
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