Most Employers Feel They Provide Adequate Childcare Support for Employees, But Departures Due to COVID-19 Impact on Childcare Worse Than Anticipated

Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 10:00am

New U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation report finds that employers have seen an increase in number of employees leaving the workforce because of childcare concerns

Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today released a new report detailing how employers are thinking about childcare assistance, benefits, and accommodations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report, "Piecing Together Solutions: Employer Childcare Assistance Now and Looking Ahead," examines how employers have supported employees with young children while experiencing employee turnover and the future of their investment in childcare.

"Since the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 has forced employers to change how they operate," said Cheryl Oldham, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. "As 2020 draws to a close, employers are still unsure about how to navigate this new business and talent landscape, and how to best support the childcare needs of their employees."

The report builds upon previous studies of parents, employers, and childcare providers that the U.S. Chamber Foundation released throughout the year. It shows that, while most employers feel they are aware and supportive of the childcare needs of their employees, they underestimated the number of workers who would leave the workforce due to COVID-19. In June of this year, 24 percent of employers were concerned that some of their employees would leave the workforce because of the pandemic, but by October, 32 percent of employers had lost employees. When asked what factors drove employees' decisions to leave the workforce, half cited childcare concerns.

Additional key findings from the study include:

  • Due to the impact of the pandemic, many employers are struggling financially to invest in employees' childcare needs. Twenty percent of employers are currently willing to increase their investment in childcare needs. Additionally, 49 percent of employers would be likely to provide additional childcare assistance if the government offered supplementary incentives. When asked what types of additional childcare assistance they would be willing to provide, employers cited flexible working hours (44%) and remote work (36%).
  • An overwhelming majority of employers feel that they are aware of their employees’ childcare needs. Eighty-nine percent of employers feel they are aware of the childcare needs of their employees, and most employers gather this information through informal feedback. Of those surveyed, 13 percent have fielded surveys on the topic and 11 percent have conducted formal feedback sessions.
  • Most employers feel they provide adequate support to employees with young children. Overall, 71 percent of employers feel that they provide adequate support for employees with young children. This varies depending on the size of the employer; 77 percent of employers with between 10 and 49 employees feel that they provide adequate support, compared to 60 percent of employers with more than 500 employees.

Accompanying the study, the U.S. Chamber Foundation produced a video of conversations with employers discussing how the pandemic has impacted their workforce and changed the way they do business.

This report is part of a series of studies to better understand how childcare challenges are affecting working parents and their employers during the pandemic. In December, the U.S. Chamber Foundation will publish a final culminating report, and host a webinar  that will cover the findings from the series of surveys conducted in 2020, to examine the impact of COVID-19 on childcare observed over time.

Sign up for updates or to learn more about the U.S. Chamber Foundation's work on early childhood education.

About the U.S. Chamber Foundation

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America's long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.