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Lack Of Childcare Leaves Money On The Table


December 5, 2017
Becky Allen
Forbes

Childcare. It’s far more than a women’s issue – or even a family issue. It’s a business challenge.

And, according to new data, providing childcare is also a potential boon for the bottom line.

A growing body of research documents the relationship between the availability of quality childcare and benefits to business, including reduced absenteeism, employee turnover, and productivity loss, as well as improved reputation and recruitment of skilled employees. The lack of access to childcare is also a major barrier to women’s labor force participation across the globe, contributing to a gender gap of 18 percentage points – a gap which, if closed, could add $12 trillion to GDP by 2025.

Why then is it proving challenging for businesses to offer childcare to their employees?

In part, the answer can be found in a mountain of hurdles facing businesses that do want to offer care for kids. For onsite daycare, a business must deal with the licensing laws, the liability, the upfront fixed costs of creating a child-proof space with appropriate toys and furniture, not to mention the ongoing financial investment in quality caretakers. Even providing subsidies to parents or reserving spaces in third-party daycares poses challenges – reduced influence on availability of care and hours of operation, for example – while costs may remain high.

But, as the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) seminal report on Tackling Childcare shows, providing employees with childcare options – whether on or offsite – is good for business. The research holds true across regions, income brackets, and sectors