The talent pool is about to shrink even more.
A recent Post Report stated, “A lot of the resilience and the strength that we’ve seen in the economy in the last few years has been because of the strong labor market, because people are going back to work, and especially women and mothers in particular are really returning to the workforce at record levels that we haven’t seen before.”
That may soon change, however.
Read on to learn more about what’s potentially changing, why this matters to employers, and what you can do to hel
What’s changing in child care?
For the last three years, child care facilities across the country have used $24 billion in economic relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Child Care Stabilization Grant to keep child care facilities open — but the money has run out.
What does this mean for businesses and hiring managers?
Many experts predict that more than 3 million children are at risk of losing their spot at their child care program due to a decrease in government funding. It has been estimated that 70,000 child care centers are likely to close without this funding, meaning that the only options parents will have for child care will be less affordable and harder to find.
For employers, this is a scary possibility considering how much of the workforce is made up of women. Another report revealed that the increase of women in the workforce has been widespread. While the employment-to-population ratios were higher at the end of 2022 than they were in 2019, having young children at home is still a major deterrent for women seeking employment.
What you can do to make this easier for your workers
Hiring mothers and other primary caretakers of children is only going to get harder if there is no safety in place to help this demographic. Here are three ways you can make your business more attractive to prospective employees and keep your current team onboard while supporting their work-life balance.
Empower employees with schedule flexibility
First and foremost: flexibility should be at the top of your priorities. Not every business can operate remotely, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t offer some degree of flexibility to your workers. You could allow employees to dictate what days they’re going to work or enable them to create a set schedule. That way, they know what days they’ll work and for how long so they can arrange child care around those needs.
You could also empower your employees by offering split shifts or flexible end and start times to parents who need to pick up or drop off their children. As child care providers become more scarce, every minute will count to these parents; in fact, some facilities charge late fees if the adults are not on time to pick up their littles. Help your team avoid costly fines from their child care providers while giving them more control of their work life by incorporating some degree of flexibility into your people policies.
Boost your benefits
Aside from flexibility, you’ll really need to flex the benefits that you offer employees. Schools don’t want sick kids roaming around, and neither do daycare providers — and with the latter closing their doors due to lack of funding, parents will be stuck in a tough position. Help your team out by tacking on more PTO for all of your employees. For your staff with children, these days could be used to take care of the inevitable sick kid, tend to themselves when they catch the germs from said kid, and give them more time overall to manage their lives outside of work. You could also consider implementing Mental Health Days for your employees; these days are quickly becoming popular as they allow workers the opportunity to do something that nourishes them on days when they otherwise would not be productive at work due to their mental state or stress. Whether your team members currently have children or not, the ability to take more time off work will likely be appreciated by everyone on your team!
Other ways you could boost your benefits to potential candidates and current staff would be offering healthcare insurance to part-time employees or seeing if your insurance broker will allow for coverage from day one of employment. For parents of children (and even workers without kids), health insurance is a big deal — and if you can get it from your employer instead of spending time deciphering the marketplace, that’s a true blessing!
Develop DEI practices
At the heart of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts is the intention of making the workplace welcoming for all employees. If you don’t have any DEI endeavors in place, now is the perfect time to implement some new policies. Make it a point to emphasize that mothers or other caretakers are not a burden to the organization just because they have to balance their family needs with their work responsibilities.
Oftentimes, parents feel guilty when they need to take time off to care for their children or go to appointments; it’s important that you let your workers know that taking care of their families and themselves is the best thing they can do for your organization. Balancing home and work life is important, but it should be just that — a balance. Create a work culture that values every employee and the experiences they bring to the table to build a truly diverse and inclusive work environment.
Women (mothers in particular) have surpassed their 2019 levels of employment, but that may soon come to a grinding halt as child care centers across the country close due to lack of funding. For employers, this means that hiring and keeping caretakers on their team will become even more difficult in the days to come. In order to be an accommodating employer, you’ll need to look at how you can assist your employees in managing their work-life balance with schedule flexibility, offering benefits that matter, and creating a welcoming work environment.
To see how you can hire better talent faster, schedule a 1:1 customized demo with our team today!