Fortune 500 CEOs, economists, researchers, and working moms and dads are all too aware: Until the coronavirus is effectively mitigated in the U.S., and schools and day cares are able to reopen safely and stay open consistently, members of the American workforce who are caring for young children at home — 17.5 million workers, or 11% of the workforce — will probably not be able to return to work full time.
This is a problem for parents, who worry about their job security, on top of being spread thin. It is a problem for employers, whose teams may be remote for much longer than they originally planned, and who find themselves needing to adapt to the “new normal” of managing in a pandemic, where worker safety and mental health are inextricable from productivity and a company’s bottom line.
And last but not least, it is a problem for the U.S. economy. In a speech at the Democratic National Convention, Sen. Elizabeth Warren went so far as to compare child care to the critical national infrastructure — like roads, bridges and communication systems — that keeps the economy going.
“It’s time to recognize that child care is part of the basic infrastructure of this nation,” she said. “It’s infrastructure for families.”
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