Even though we don't have all the answers for what's going to come after the COVID-19 pandemic, there's one thing we know for sure: It will not be business as usual for anyone. Parents have struggled to balance childcare and their job demands. Coming out of weeks of lockdowns with their families, they have gained a new appreciation of the value of childcare.
Childcare programs across the country are on the verge of financial ruin, not knowing when and how to reopen safely. During the height of the pandemic lockdowns in April, 60% of licensed providers closed and many of those that remained open reduced spaces or hours, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center. By August, more than 70% of parents surveyed reported that their childcare program had either closed or was operating at reduced capacity.
Childcare options may be limited for some time in a post-COVID-19 world. Without government support, the U.S. could lose roughly half of its childcare capacity by some estimates because of the coronavirus's economic impacts, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress.The system was already economically fragile and faces an unprecedented crisis as it restarts.
Why employers should be supportive
As the economy slowly recovers, companies are developing return-to-work programs to reopen their offices again. In this new environment, employers can reset how childcare benefits are delivered to improve the lives and productivity of working parents.
More parents will continue to work remotely as companies ranging from Google to Morgan Stanley rethink where people work. Early adopters that provide childcare benefits to a larger base of remote workers more efficiently will have a competitive advantage in the labor market. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation found that 40% of employers have offered flexible time and remote work options along with additional childcare assistance to help working parents cope with COVID-19’s economic impacts.
However, those efforts are not enough. Nearly 80% of employers said that childcare is the main reason they think some of their employees will not fully return to work. One out of five employers report that workers have quit their jobs to focus on children’s educational needs, according to a recent survey by World at Work.
Companies that do the right thing and provide affordable childcare options to their employees will enhance their reputation as an employer of choice. The public, especially millennial parents, who are particularly concerned with social responsibility, are watching how employers respond to the crisis.
How innovative models can reshape childcare
Childcare benefits will have to adapt to the post-COVID-19 world. Companies will need to offer arrangements that are open, flexible and distributed to fit into the new reality where more employees are working remotely and require support at multiple childcare locations.
With the chaos created by the pandemic, working parents will need a trusted guide to childcare providers in their area. Arvorie, which works with employers to provide better childcare services, has tools and resources to help working parents find reliable childcare arrangements and access to high-quality providers at discounted rates.
On top of it, working parents need new ways to pay for childcare after the pandemic. Arvorie's platform already makes childcare benefits tax-efficient for employers and will continue to innovate with new solutions that allow parents to choose the childcare provider that best fits their individual needs.
Learn more about how Arvorie can support companies to provide better childcare services to working parents.