Another snow day? Really? Parents thankful for understanding employers

Freezing rain shut down many schools across Northern Michigan Monday.

135 districts made the call to close school for the day.

For the schools that did close, it can create problems for working parents, especially when snow days pile up in a short period of time.

Parents and employers today say itâ??s important to have a "back-up" plan in place when their kids are home from school.

â??I really wanted to raise my white flag, just surrender," laughs Emmet County employee Mandy Arthur.

Perhaps, snow days aren't the best days, at least for parents. Emmet County employees Beth Piehl and Mandy Arthur are working moms and their children come first. They're thankful for an understanding employer, as both showed up Monday fashionably late.

"If it weren't for the flex time, being able to work nights and weekends, I wouldn't know what to do," says Piehl.

"I started frantically thinking of anyone to call, to help me out, or decide to use some of the paid time off Iâ??m offered here to wash the hours," says Arthur.

Circuit Controls Corporation in Petoskey employs more than 150 people. It calls itself a community company and knows stuff happens.

"We have an attendance hotline, they need to call in, and we have a pretty robust company benefit package, and there's some paid time off they can take for those purposes," says human resources manager Debbie Pomranke.

â??Babies do not take snow days," laughs Pam Oshben, registered nurse at Charlevoix Area Hospital.

It's not as easy as calling in for hospital employees, but OB nurse Pam Oshaben says parental dilemmas, like a snow day, is accounted for by managers and good teamwork.

"If they can't make it, many times, we'll call our contingency staff, and they're great about coming in and covering," says Oshaben.

For smaller employers like Meyerâ??s Ace Hardware, the same goes.

"The owners are very family-oriented people as well, and they understand things happen," says Carole Genson, manager at Meyerâ??s Ace Hardware.

Although most of the people I talked to today said their employer is willing to work with them, it's still their personal time they say they'd rather use on vacation, not to watch their kids.

â??I usually use all mine juggling my kids around or stay home, which should be a vacation, but isn't always," laughs Arthur.

But sadly, paid time off does run out, and that's when Baby Steps Daycare in Petoskey sees their clients move from youngsters to school age kids.

"As that season progresses, snow days become busy days, because we are needed," says Sherry Loar-Trudell, owner of Baby Steps.

Of course there are employers who aren't able to be as lenient, but the people we talked to today said in a case of school off, their employers are more than willing to make it work.