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Business leaders call for action as childcare challenges threaten the American workforce

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Many business leaders argue that the lack of childcare solutions for US employees is a significant business challenge that threatens the workforce and limits the ultimate performance of US companies. After the pandemic has brought greater attention and awareness to this issue, many have also taken action to address childcare challenges in their organizations and across the country.

In May, former PepsiCo CEO Indranouy called for stronger child care solutions at the 2022 Symposium on Child Care Aware of America in Arlington, Virginia. “How we deal with childcare, and the time for our loved ones, is the biggest challenge and the biggest financial opportunity of our time,” says Nooy, which is for employers. He added that it is a central issue for. “Now, especially in today’s tough labor market, in the great war over talent, smart employers can no longer ignore this issue … On-site and near-site parenting for working parents is a game changer. We did it in Pepsico, and the benefits were immediate and lasting. “

Also in May, the Marshall Plan for Moms, a non-profit organization focused on promoting women’s financial empowerment and public and private sector policies to support mothers, expanded employee childcare support. For the purpose, we organized a national corporate alliance for childcare. Among the signatories were large companies such as Athletes Unlimited, Care.com, Patagonia and Synchrony. Union members increase transparency by sharing childcare policies, data and best practices, and provide fair childcare support to employees by publicly speaking about the importance of childcare to US economic health and competitiveness. We are interested in pursuing the solutions we offer. Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of the Marshall Plan for Moms, said in an interview.

“It’s no secret that pandemics have had a disproportionate negative impact on women and their ability to succeed in the workforce,” said Synchrony, executive vice president and chief technology of consumer financial services firm Synchrony, which employs more than 18,000 people. Carol Juel, also and operating officer, said. “At Synchrony, 60% of our employees are women. We believe that by providing flexibility, childcare support and progressive benefits, we can win the war for talent. Fairness, diversity, And promote participation in the workforce, and ultimately strong performance. ”

Synchrony conducted listening sessions and surveys of employees at all levels, including call center employees, to identify imminent childcare needs. As a result, the company has expanded its childcare benefits. For example, Synchrony has moved from 10 days of pre-pandemic backup care to 60 days of backup child care, says Angie Hu, vice president of corporate communications and public relations. Synchrony also offers employees’ children’s virtual summer activities and online learning, time flexibility, and the opportunity to work from home. Hu added that the virtual summer camp was also born out of a pandemic and was created in response to the closure of the summer camp and child care center.

The Marshall Plan for Moms also released a new report in May with McKinzie on the impact of the US childcare support system on employees and workers. Following the escape from the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic, it helps women move forward and bring them back to work. In an incidental survey of more than 1,000 parents, 69% of women with children under the age of 5 may choose an employer to provide onsite childcare or benefits to support childcare payments. Eighty-three percent reported childcare profits are an important factor in deciding whether to stay with their current employer or move.

The report also provided a four-step process that allows businesses to create their own childcare benefits and five areas of solutions to help businesses improve their childcare options. Women with children aged 0-5 who want to work are most sought after, including flexible working styles, predictable working hours, and financial schedules and support for childcare.

The solution areas include childcare cost subsidies, on-site care, flexible time and work schedules, predictable work schedules, and the implementation of a childcare census to understand and ensure quality by understanding employee needs. included.

Business leader associations and advocacy groups are also promoting childcare solutions. In September 2021, 52 existing and former CEOs, members of ReadyNation, a non-profit business leader member organization, granted a grant to ReadyNation, a component of the larger non-profit Strong American Council. Strengthen federal support for childcare, including flexibility in using our resources, childcare incentives, and tax deductions. Among them are Pizza Hut and Yahoo! , Park Hotels & Resorts, Kaiser Permanente, Cessna Aircraft Co., Xerox, Macy’s current and former business leaders were included.

The letter reflects the sentiment of a much larger group, said Barryford, president and chief executive officer of the Strong American Council.

“Ready Nation is a group of more than 2,400 business leaders nationwide, and by joining us, investing in early childhood support is very important,” says Ford.

A 2019 Ready Nation study of the childcare crisis found that the childcare crisis for infants resulted in $ 57 billion in annual revenue, productivity and revenue losses. According to an accompanying survey of 812 working parents with children under the age of three, 86% of primary caregivers undermine their efforts and time commitment to work to ensure childcare. Said.

“Even large companies that provide subsidies to help with on-premises childcare and employees are aware that childcare facilities are unavailable due to a pandemic outbreak,” Ford said in an interview. Stated. “We believe that childcare is a business model that works only with a significant amount of public investment, so we ask our business members to be advocates of public investment in this area.”

Hugh Welsh, president and general counsel of DSM North America, a North American subsidiary of a Dutch-based health, wellness and bioscience company, one of the signatories to ReadyNation’s parliamentary letter, has taken action by business leaders. He states that support is his sense. Increasing to improve childcare offerings nationwide.

“I think that awareness is rising rapidly as one million women have left the workforce since the outbreak of the pandemic. Many are due to childcare challenges. Companies are dealing with labor shortages as a result. “We will,” said Co-Chair Wales. ReadyNation CEO Task Force.

Members of regional and regional chambers of commerce in the United States are also working on childcare issues, said Aaron Fairy Tale, head of policy and programs at the National Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Education and Labor Center.

“Childcare is an integral part of a competitive workforce,” says Mercen. “And for the past two years, especially during the pandemic, childcare has been a sector of the industry in which we are already doing business, so it really is a top priority for business leaders, chambers of commerce, policy makers, and obviously working parents. It turned out to be a matter. A razor-thin margin. There was already a problem with the structure of the sector, so when a pandemic occurred, it really got worse and highlighted many of those problems. So what we are seeing is the recognition that from small employers to CEOs of multinational businesses, the childcare sector cannot be fully recovered without strengthening and strengthening. ”

In March, Marchen published a roadmap for employers on how the Foundation can work to help employees raise their children. “A policy that works in Pittsburgh may not work in rural Arizona, so it’s not necessarily a policy recommendation, but it has the support and benefits that individual employers can provide to support working parents. It turns out to be useful. It’s up to those employers. Talk to your employees and find out how much they can contribute to childcare benefits to understand which support is most beneficial to them. That’s what Mercen says.

In addition to the momentum between businesses, some states are also leaning. In April, Maine participated in Best Place for Working Parents, a growing national partnership that supports employers of all sizes in assessing, identifying, hiring, and earning family-friendly policies. Awareness of their efforts.

Through partnerships, Maine companies can access tools to evaluate an organization’s support for working parents for regional and national ratings for companies of similar size and industry. Through online confidentiality assessments, businesses can determine if an organization is eligible to be designated as the “best place for working parents” or what actions they can take to do so.

Although the approach is different, many companies cannot afford the entire childcare burden on their own, but without some form of intervention, many employees may not be able to secure a childcare solution and impact their bottom line. I am more and more aware that I have sex.