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Why Employers Must Meet The Child Care Challenges of Working Mothers

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There are approximately 23.5 million working mothers in the United States, almost one-third of all employed women – and the pandemic has hit them much harder than fathers. 

Pandemic parenting means a double shift of a full day of work combined with a full day of homeschooling, plus caring for children and tackling never-ending household chores. As a result, other studies point to another stark reality: The working mothers who have remained in the labor force throughout the pandemic have reduced their hours 5x more than fathers have.

Employers all over America have lost women in all sectors and at all levels of management. Juggling child care along with a full-time job without efficient employer support is too much. So how can companies better support this population of the workforce so that these employees can work productively while gaining access to child care that is affordable and effective?

Below, we’ll take a look at the many ways that today’s employers can rise to the challenge of supporting working parents in 2021 – and beyond. 

Working Parents Are At Their Wit’s End

As we’ve seen during the pandemic, working parents had to balance their commitment to their careers and their families. According to a recent report by McKinsey & Company, one in three working mothers last year considered downsizing their careers or leaving the workforce entirely. 

The American child care crisis is systemic, and companies should be leveraging opportunities to acknowledge and reduce the considerable stress and struggles of working parents. 

Support for parents needs to go beyond modern workplace perks like the ability to work from home or have flexible vacation days. HR professionals and CEOs alike have the opportunity to offer varied and timely assistance programs as part of a benefits package that will alleviate many of the child care stressors working parents are currently facing. 

What today’s parents need from employers, above all else, are policies and compensation packages that address their real pain points – access to high-quality child care support. 

How Companies Can Support Parents in 2021 and Beyond

Employers and HR teams should look at implementing tangible and proven strategies when it comes to supporting the working parent in 2021 and beyond. While perks such as flexible hours will help to an extent, support for working parents should be an integral part of communications, policies, benefits, and training. 

These are some of the key initiatives you can implement to support  the productivity, health, and wellbeing of your working parents:

  • Communicate with parents every month – Ask your working parents what they need from their manager, HR team, and the company regularly. Act on any feedback given in an effective and timely manner.
  • Set out best practices for meetings – Set company-wide standards that help to eliminate unnecessary meetings and allow your employees to have weekly “no-meetings” time blocks so that they can work efficiently and plan their work schedule accordingly.
  • Help working parents to navigate child care options – Provide expert guidance on a 1:1 basis so that parents can navigate and take advantage of child care program options that suit their needs. 
  • Bring in experts to lead webinars and training sessions – Expert speakers can lead webinars that are directed at helping working parents deal with topics such as burnout or managing their child’s wellbeing. Additionally, experts can train employees in managerial roles on how to understand and support the needs of parents. 
  • Provide equitably distributed benefit packagesParents are facing a crisis. That’s why an equitably distributed benefits package that offers tailored offerings will be much more beneficial in improving their real pain points. 

Employer-Sponsored Child Care is Good For Business

Everyone wins when companies provide effective child care assistance benefits to working parents. And it’s no secret that a positive, happy company culture increases employee engagement and productivity and attracts new talent. 

A recent Great Place to Work study found that employers who provide family-friendly work perks – from on-site child care providers to in-home support – improve not only their employees’ wellbeing and quality of life, but that companies that invest in working parents usually see a 5.5x revenue growth. Parents who feel cared for by their employers tend to generate better ideas; they’re also shown to be more engaged and productive at work. 

Investing in child care services as part of an employee benefits package and amping up support in key areas of employees’ lives is undoubtedly good for business. 

Access to Child Care is Not a New Problem, But It Will Continue to Be Without Employer Intervention 

The end to the child care crisis will not happen overnight, and if it’s to happen, companies must take action soon. If they don’t, America will likely face a massive and historic shift in its labor force. 

We Partner With Employers to Support Working Parents

Vivvi partners with employers of all sizes to make high-quality full-time and backup care more accessible and affordable. With flexible offerings and global coverage across campus, in-home, in-office, and virtual care, Vivvi meets the needs of your business and your employees where you are. 

If you can’t show up for work, none of those other perks matter. How do we make child care fit our generation? It’s about work-life integration

  • Camilla Marcus, Westbourne

Visit our employer page to learn more about the benefits and ROI our child care offerings have provided to businesses like yours.

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