In the working world. mothers with children under 18 suffered the most as a result of the pandemic. With many women leaving the workforce entirely and others having to cut down on working hours to take care of their kids, the careers of mothers were completely derailed. However, more than 200 companies are now making it their aim to ensure working mothers don’t get left behind in the future by providing part-time and full-time child care options and other support.
Below, we look at how businesses involved in the Care Economy Business Council are driving a positive impact for working mothers and look at various solutions that all employers should consider implementing.
The Careers of Working Mothers Were Completely Derailed
The pandemic’s disproportionate impact on the careers and livelihoods of working moms is starkly evident in the statistics. While the start of the COVID-19 pandemic saw both men and women lose their jobs, women’s participation in the labor force hit a 33-year low in January 2021. Additionally, a recent McKinsey report states that the representation of women in senior management positions has taken a hit too.
While the gender gap in senior roles has been evident for many years, the exodus of women from the labor force will make bridging this gap harder still. Inevitably, the factors that drove many women to step back from their careers included burnout and increased childcare responsibilities. This shone a light on the small and large inequalities that working mothers face both in the home and in the workplace.
Now as companies are beginning to emerge from the pandemic, what does this mean for the careers of women, especially working mothers? Studies estimate that it could take at least three years before employment for women to recover to pre-pandemic levels. While there is no way to predict how the careers of working mothers will progress in the near future, what is certain is these women are facing a tough road if they don’t receive the support they need from employers.
What is the Care Economy Business Council?
In response to the pandemic highlighting the difficulties that working parents face when trying to hold down a job without access to efficient child care solutions and how much the caregiving crisis impacts a company’s bottom line, a non-profit called Time’s Up set up the Care Economy Business Council.
Consisting of over 200 corporations across various industries, the Care Economy Business Council aims to shift the cultural narrative around who is responsible for child care, enforce equitable practices to support working parents in the workplace, and advocate for key public policies to build inclusive work environments for all.
The Care Economy Business Council’s message is very clear – organizations need to take action to support their employees and to rebuild the economy after the pandemic. After all, working parents are the backbone of the American economy, without their participation every business’s operations will be impacted.
It’s important to note that the goal of the Care Economy Business Council isn’t driven by a need to improve business operations going forward but instead, to drive the necessary changes needed to mend the cracks in the United States’ caregiving system.
How Various Companies Are Supporting Their Working Parents
As mentioned above, there are many companies that have already signed up for the Care Economy Business Council’s cause. Some are more recognizable than others, however, what they all share is a drive to improve the workplace for employees with child care responsibilities. Below, we investigate how a selection of these companies are striving to implement an inclusive workplace environment for working parents and help strike a stronger work-life balance.
One of the most significant changes that McDonald’s has made to improve the working environment for caregivers has been a shift in job flexibility policies. With thousands of their employees having to juggle increased child care hours and remote learning on top of their work shifts, the company ensured that employees worked closely with their managers to create work schedules that accommodated their personal needs.
Additionally, the company offers a robust family leave policy that guarantees the mother up to 4 months of paid maternity leave and two weeks of paid leave for fathers. In a recent statement, a spokesperson for the company said that the driving decision behind their reason to join the Care Economy Business Council was a commitment to break down “barriers for opportunity and support equitable access to care for all.”
JP Morgan Chase
JP Morgan Chase has a number of different programs that are designed to support working parents. Part of the company’s ethos when it comes to attracting and retaining talent is the belief that employers should care for employees’ families.
As a firm, JP Morgan Chase has publicly recognized the importance of ensuring working parents have time to care for a child after birth or an adoption process. The company implemented a gender-neutral Parental Leave Policy which provides both mothers and fathers with up to 16 weeks of paid leave. In addition to this, JP Morgan Chase also rolled out a mentoring program for new parents which uses an online program to match new parents with seasoned parents in the firm.
The company also recognizes the financial costs that come with starting a family, especially in terms of adoption or surrogacy. For these employees, an Adoption and Surrogacy Assistance program provides financial assistance up to $10,000 to working parents.
In the past, Verizon has been named a top company for executive women and working mothers. This company is driven to create a supportive environment for women and also, commits to gender diversity across all roles. As part of their initiative to support working parents, especially mothers, they offer the following programs:
- Unconscious bias workshops for leadership teams
- An employee resource group (ERG) called the Women’s Association of Verizon Employees
- Up to 8 weeks of paid parental leave at 100% base pay and up to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave
The company gladly joined Time’s Up Care Economy Business Council to share innovative ideas and solutions to carve a better future for women’s participation in the labor force, and equality among caregiving responsibilities.
The Caregiving Crisis Solution: What Leaders Should Consider
Organizations need to rethink how they offer support to their employees as part of the effort of ensuring that working mothers don’t get left behind as the economy reopens. While each company’s policies will vary, it is important that the changes you make within your organization accurately solve the specific pain points of your employees.
The most effective way to decipher which changes need to take place is by conducting an employee survey for working parents. The feedback from these surveys will identify those company offerings that need to be revised. Once those have been determined, your organization will need to implement effective employer-sponsored solutions to combat the caregiving crisis.
Without access to affordable and quality child care services working mothers will continue to struggle to partake in the U.S labor market. It is the responsibility of leaders to provide parents with flexible family leave policies to allow them to smoothly transition back into the workplace and access affordable in-home or in-office child care services.
How Vivvi Helps Employers Support Working Parents
Vivvi partners with employers of all sizes to make exceptional care and early learning 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.
Visit our employer page to learn more about the benefits and ROI our child care offerings have provided to businesses like yours.