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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Working from home and childcare


A survey the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce (NACC) conducted in July 2020 indicated that 13% of our area employers were concerned about having an adequate or reliable workforce to meet the demands of their businesses concerns.

Since that time, our community has continued to adjust to the ever-changing health and operating protocols of our business community, workable childcare options continue to play a key role in working parents being able to return to work. Many industries lend themselves for employees working from home (WFH).

However, even the WFH option does not solve childcare challenges… ask any parent who has attempted a productive WFH day with young children in their home. In addition, there remains a large swath of our business community that cannot offer a WFH option. For example, healthcare and service-oriented businesses such as restaurants, retail, and cleaning services.

Area school districts have been forced to shift from on-line learning to hybrid then back to on-line to react to vast swings in COVID-19 positivity rates and outbreaks. Often, with only a few days – or in outbreak situations – overnight notice.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has instituted a longitudinal study to assess these challenges and what employers can do support their employees in this kaleidoscope of childcare challenges. Below is a summary of their findings:

  • Of the 29% of employers whose employees have sought other employment, 44% site childcare concerns as the reason, according to their October findings.
  • 20% of employers are currently willing to increase their investment in childcare needs.
  • However, 49% of employers would be likely to provide additional childcare assistance if the government offered supplementary incentives.
  • 82% of employers are providing flexibility, such as flexible work hours (working off hours or remote work, which allows employees to work and provide childcare). 
  • 28% of employers are offering paid leave.
  • 6% are providing preferred access to childcare, such as onsite childcare.
  • 4% of employers are offering financial assistance for childcare for their employees.

For the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s full report, visit www.uschamberfoundation.org/sites/default/files/media-uploads/EarlyEd_Employer2.0_FINAL.pdf.

The NACC is resolute in supporting our business community in retaining a strong workforce. To that end, we will be working collaboratively with policymakers and other partners around the country to explore best practices and policies to help mitigate the childcare challenges our workforce is facing. When additional resources develop, we will bring these to your attention.

Source: Piecing Together Solutions: Employer Childcare Assistance Now and Looking Ahead, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, November 2020

Reba Morgan Osborne
Reba Morgan Osbornehttp://naperville.net
Reba Morgan Osborne is the Director of Government Affairs for the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact Reba at (630) 544-3387 or rosborne@naperville.net.