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Pandemic Parenting Crunch May Usher In Expanded Child Care Benefits

The stress working parents have felt during the coronavirus pandemic may spur needed change to child care policies.

Parents have found themselves in a bind during the previous year’s work-life balancing act, navigating home-schooling, lockdowns and infection fears while trying to hold onto their jobs and sanity. A British commercial real estate group, Real Estate Balance, recently founded an initiative specifically to help parents in the industry commiserate and keep sane. 

But this widespread stress, and lack of a stronger safety net for caregivers, may spur widespread change. Surveys highlight just how aware companies are that they’re losing talent because parents don’t feel like they have enough support, HR Drive reported.

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce study found that of the 32% of employers who lost employees since the coronavirus pandemic began, half cited child care as a decisive factor. Only 13% of companies in the same survey had made the effort to systematically survey their employees about the efficacy of child care plans, suggesting much more outreach and reworking of benefits and policies is due. 

Not surprisingly, the bulk of the stress and strain falls on women. A fall survey from Cleo, a family benefits platform for companies, found that more than 6 in 10 women felt responsible for the majority of child care in their relationships, and they felt they lost 49% more productive work time than men due to caregiving responsibilities. Furthermore, 61% of women said they feel responsible for the majority of caregiving in their partnership.