Friday water cooler: What can HR do for workers with childcare needs?

Hourly-wage earning workers are struggling to find affordable childcare for their kids.
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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Organizations are scrambling to meet the childcare needs of hourly-wage earning workers, who face a growing scarcity of accessible and affordable childcare options.

The dilemma has a sizable impact on the economy, according to an analysis from Ready Nation, which found that the US suffers “$122 billion in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue every year,” due to a lack of childcare resources for working families.

As schools and daycare centers closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, some companies tried to build their own daycare centers. But such offerings are a rarity, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. Though onsite childcare can still be expensive, it can be used to lure and retain talent, Myriah Sweeney, group manager for people and property services at Toyota, told the WSJ. Though it costs the company $15 million to build a daycare facility for around 140 children in more rural areas with manufacturing plants, “We know it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

The childcare industry took a beating during the pandemic, shedding 10% of its total workforce by September 2021. With that in mind, it may be no surprise that some advocates have argued that bridging the childcare gap could present a boon for the broader economy.

Short of solutions. In its report, Ready Nation implored policy makers to intervene in what it called the “infant-toddler care crisis,” writing: “Federal and state policymakers must support evidence-based policies and programs that enhance the availability and affordability of high-quality childcare.”

The Biden administration is making efforts to address the childcare crisis, albeit in a tangential way: The CHIPS and Science Act avails federal funds to companies in the semiconductor and chip manufacturing space, but only if they plan to integrate childcare centers at their facilities.

Hey, you. Yes, YOU. There in the back. Have any thoughts on how HR can ease the burden on working parents of young children? Does your company have daycare facilities? If not, would you like it if your company did? Get in touch via email or in our LinkedIn group.

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

News built to help HR pros grow their impact & improve the future of work.